Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

2016

Abstract

In the Mariana convergent margin, large arc volcanoes disappear south of Guam even though the Pacific plate continues to subduct and instead, small cones scatter on the seafloor. These small cones could form either due to decompression melting accompanying back‐arc extension or flux melting, as expected for arc volcanoes, or as a result of both processes. Here, we report the major, trace, and volatile element compositions, as well as the oxidation state of Fe, in recently dredged, fresh pillow lavas from the Fina Nagu volcanic chain, an unusual alignment of small, closely spaced submarine calderas and cones southwest of Guam. We show that Fina Nagu magmas are the consequence of mantle melting due to infiltrating aqueous fluids and sediment melts sourced from the subducting Pacific plate into a depleted mantle wedge, similar in extent of melting to accepted models for arc melts. Fina Nagu magmas are not as oxidized as magmas elsewhere along the Mariana arc, suggesting that the subduction component responsible for producing arc magmas is either different or not present in the zone of melt generation for Fina Nagu, and that amphibole or serpentine mineral destabilization reactions are key in producing oxidized arc magmas. Individual Fina Nagu volcanic structures are smaller in volume than Mariana arc volcanoes, although the estimated cumulative volume of the volcanic chain is similar to nearby submarine arc volcanoes. We conclude that melt generation under the Fina Nagu chain occurs by similar mechanisms as under Mariana arc volcanoes, but that complex lithospheric deformation in the region distributes the melts among several small edifices that get younger to the northeast.

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