U-series disequilibria in Kick'em Jenny submarine volcano lavas: A new view of time-scales of magmatism in convergent margins

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We present data for U and its decay series nuclides 230Th, 226Ra, 231Pa, and 210Po for 14 lavas from Kick'em Jenny (KEJ) submarine volcano to constrain the time-scales and processes of magmatism in the Southern Lesser Antilles, the arc having the globally lowest plate convergence rate. Although these samples are thought to have been erupted in the last century, most have (226Ra)/(210Po) within ±15% of unity. Ten out of 14 samples have significant 226Ra excesses over 230Th, with (226Ra)/(230Th) up to 2.97, while four samples are in 226Ra-230Th equilibrium within error. All KEJ samples have high (231Pa)/(235U), ranging from 1.56 to 2.64 and high 238U excesses (up to 43%), providing a global end-member of high 238U and high 231Pa excesses. Negative correlations between Sr, sensitive to plagioclase fractionation, and Ho/Sm, sensitive to amphibole fractionation, or K/Rb, sensitive to open system behavior, indicate that differentiation at KEJ lavas was dominated by amphibole fractionation and open-system assimilation. While (231Pa)/(235U) does not correlate with differentiation indices such as Ho/Sm, (230Th)/(238U) shows a slight negative correlation, likely due to assimilation of materials with slightly higher (230Th)/(238U). Samples with 226Ra excess have higher Sr/Th and Ba/Th than those in 226Ra-230Th equilibrium, forming rough positive correlations of (226Ra)/(230Th) with Sr/Th and Ba/Th similar to those observed in many arc settings. We interpret these correlations to reflect a time-dependent magma differentiation process at shallow crustal levels and not the process of recent fluid addition at the slab-wedge interface. The high 231Pa excesses require an in-growth melting process operating at low melting rates and small residual porosity; such a model will also produce significant 238U-230Th and 226Ra-230Th disequilibrium in erupted lavas, meaning that signatures of recent fluid addition from the slab are unlikely to be preserved in KEJ lavas. We instead propose that most of the 238U-230Th, 226Ra-230Th, and 235U-231Pa disequilibria in erupted KEJ lavas reflect the in-growth melting process in the mantle wedge (reflecting variations in U/Th, daughter-parent ratios, fO2, and thermal structure), followed by modification by magma differentiation at crustal depths. Such a conclusion reconciles the different temporal implications from different U-series parent-daughter pairs and relaxes the time constraint on mass transfer from slab to eruption occurring in less than a few thousand years imposed by models whereby 226Ra excess is derived from the slab. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

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Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta