Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Active spreading ridges in the North Fiji Basin range from well-developed stable ridges where largescale mantle upwelling is in progress to proto-ridges where spreading is incipient. South of 17°S, where the central ridge of the North Fiji Basin has a bathymetric profile normally expected of a fast-spreading, steadystate mid-ocean ridge, basalts are evolved N-type MORBs. North of 17°S, where the central ridge is propagating northward into old North Fiji Basin crust and spreading is in the initial stages, two types of basalt have been recovered: N-type MORBs from this northern arm of the central ridge are believed to be samples of older North Fiji Basin crust; basalts with transitional alkalic chemistry (up to 0.5% Ne in the Norm) and characterized by strong relative enrichments in Rb, Ba, K, Nb, La, Ce, Sr, P, Zr, and Ti are believed to be associated with incipient rifting. Among the latter group are compositions that are intermediate between transitional alkalic types and MORBs and these are geochemically similar to the back-arc basin (BABB) magma type defined by Sinton and Fryer (1987) from a study of Mariana back arc basin basalts. Dredges along the South Pandora Ridge, a transform zone characterized by short spreading segments, are dominated by basalts that are enriched in large-ion lithophile and high field strength minor and trace elements and compositions range from types resembling ocean island tholeiites to transitional alkalic varieties. Basalts from Rotuma are regarded as alkalic end-members of the South Pandora Ridge magmatic spectrum. In areas of the North Fiji Basin where relatively fast spreading must be accompanied by largescale asthenospheric upwelling, depleted (N-type) MORBs dominate, whereas in areas of slow mantle upwelling, or where some other tectonic effect (e.g. a transform fault) causes a transient thermal disturbance within the lithosphere or upper asthenosphere, enriched (alkalic) magmas either dominate or make a significant and noticeable contribution to the overall chemical characteristics of basalts being erupted. The MORBs have a depleted asthenospheric source, and the alkalic component is believed to derive from an enriched lithospheric or shallow asthenospheric source. The BABB magma type may simply be part of the spectrum of mixed magmas that can occur in the transitional tectonic settings represented by the early development of most back-arc basins.
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