The Eastern Makran Ophiolite (SE Iran): Evidence for a Late Cretaceous Fore-Arc Oceanic Crust


The nature, magmatic evolution, and geodynamic setting of both inner and outer Makran ophiolites, in SE Iran, are enigmatic. Here, we report mineral chemistry, whole-rock geochemistry, and Sr–Nd–Pb isotope composition of mantle peridotites and igneous rocks from the Eastern Makran Ophiolite (EMO) to assess the origin and tectono-magmatic evolution of the Makran oceanic realm. The EMO includes mantle peridotites (both harzburgites and impregnated lherzolites), isotropic gabbros, diabase dikes, and basaltic to andesitic pillow and massive lava flows. The Late Cretaceous pelagic limestones are found as covers of lava flows and/or interlayers between them. All ophiolite components are somehow sheared and fragmented, probably in Cenozoic time, during the emplacement of ophiolite. This event has produced a considerable extent of tectonic melange. Tectonic slices of trachy-basaltic lavas with oceanic island basalt (OIB)-like signature seal the tectonic melange. Our new geochemical data indicate a magmatic evolution from fore-arc basalt (FAB) to island-arc tholeiite (IAT)-like signatures for the Late Cretaceous EMO lavas. EMO extrusive rocks have high εNd(t) (+8 to +8.9) and isotopically are similar to the Oman lavas. This isotopic signature indicates a depleted mid-ocean ridge basalt (MORB) mantle source for the genesis of these rocks, except isotopic gabbros containing lower εNd(t) (+5.1 to +5.7) and thus show higher contribution of subducted slab components in their mantle source. High ²⁰⁷Pb/²⁰⁴Pb and ²⁰⁸Pb/²⁰⁴Pb isotopic ratios for the EMO igneous rocks also suggest considerable involvement of slab-derived components into the mantle source of these rocks. The variable geochemical signatures of the EMO lavas are mostly similar to Zagros and Oman ophiolite magmatic rocks, although the Pb isotopic composition shows similarity to the isotopic characteristic of inner Zagros ophiolite belt. This study postulates that the EMO formed during the early stages of Neo-Tethyan subduction initiation beneath the Lut block in a proto-forearc basin. We suggest subduction initiation caused asthenospheric upwelling and thereafter melting to generate the MORB-like melts. This event left the harzburgitic residues and the MORB-like melts interacted with the surrounding peridotites to generate the impregnated lherzolites, which are quite abundant in the EMO. Therefore, these lherzolites formed due to the refertilization of mantle rocks through porous flows of MORB-like melts. The inception of subduction caused mantle wedge to be enriched slightly by the slab components. Melting of these metasomatized mantle generated isotropic gabbros and basaltic to andesitic lavas with FAB-like signature. At the later stage, higher contribution of the slab-derived components into the overlying mantle wedge causes formation of diabase dikes with supra-subduction zone–or IAT-like signatures. Trachy-basalts were probably the result of late-stage magmatism fed by the melts originated from an OIB source asthenospheric mantle due to slab break-off. This occurred after emplacement of EMO and the formation of tectonic melange. © 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


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Ophiolites--Iran, Iran, Isotopes--Strontium-Neodymium-Lead, Subduction zones


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