Deep structure of the central Lesser Antilles Island Arc : relevance for the formation of continental crust.

Kopp, Heidrun , Weinzierl, Wolfgang, Becel, A., Charvis, P., Evain, M., Flueh, Ernst R., Gailler, A., Galve, A., Hirn, A., Kandilarov, A., Klaeschen, Dirk , Laigle, M., Papenberg, Cord , Planert, Lars and Roux, E. and Trail and Thales teams (2011) Deep structure of the central Lesser Antilles Island Arc : relevance for the formation of continental crust. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 304 (1-2). pp. 121-134. DOI 10.1016/j.epsl.2011.01.024.

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Oceanic island arcs are sites of high magma production and contribute to the formation of continental crust. Geophysical studies may provide information on the configuration and composition of island arc crust, however, to date only few seismic profiles exist across active island arcs, limiting our knowledge on the deep structure and processes related to the production of arc crust. We acquired active-source wide-angle seismic data crossing the central Lesser Antilles island arc north of Dominica where the oceanic Tiburon Ridge subducts obliquely beneath the forearc. A combined analysis of wide-angle seismics and pre-stack depth migrated reflection data images the complex structure of the backstop and its segmentation into two individual ridges, suggesting an intricate relation between subducted basement relief and forearc deformation. Tomographic imaging reveals three distinct layers composing the island arc crust. A three kilometer thick upper crust of volcanogenic sedimentary rocks and volcaniclastics is underlain by intermediate to felsic middle crust and plutonic lower crust. The island arc crust may comprise inherited elements of oceanic plateau material contributing to the observed crustal thickness. A high density ultramafic cumulates layer is not detected, which is an important observation for models of continental crust formation. The upper plate Moho is found at a depth of 24 km below the sea floor. Upper mantle velocities are close to the global average. Our study provides important information on the composition of the island arc crust and its deep structure, ranging from intermediate to felsic and mafic conditions.
In this study we model the deep structure of the Lesser Antilles Island Arc. We use a hybrid analysis of refraction and reflection seismic data. We image the complex structure of two ridges forming the backstop. Island arc crust composition ranges from intermediate to felsic to mafic conditions. We discuss the formation of island arc and continental crust.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Geodynamics; Island arc structure; seismic tomography; pre-stack depth migration; crustal growth; oceanic subduction; Lesser Antilles margin; “Thales was Right” project
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-GDY Marine Geodynamics
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
Publisher: Elsevier
Projects: INSIGHT, Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2011 13:24
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2019 19:02

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