40Ar/39Ar age and petrology of magmatic rocks from East Balkan (Bulgaria) constrain the initiation of regional subduction in SE Europe
- Journal Article
A prominent subduction-related magmatic arc hosting significant mineralization formed in SE Europe during the Late Cretaceous. Previous studies on major magmatic centers and ore deposits suggested that this belt formed through southwards retreat of a subducting Neotethys oceanic slab. However, the timing and the petrologic characteristics of magmatic products from the less mineralized eastern portions of this belt remain largely unknown. The complete lack of radiometric ages and limited geochemical characterization of this magmatism adds considerable uncertainty on existing large-scale geodynamic reconstructions focused on the Late Cretaceous magmatism in SE Europe. Here, we address this question by studying little known Cretaceous lavas and sub-volcanic bodies from the Eastern Balkan, Bulgaria. Major and trace element contents of these volumetrically limited rocks show a clear subduction signature. The most primitive rocks are high-Al basalts, which further differentiated into andesites and dacites via fractional crystallization in relatively small magma chambers. The mineral chemistry and assemblages constrain magmatic conditions prior to crystallization to pressures of 3–7 kb, temperatures of 900–1020 °C, water contents of ~4–7 wt% and high oxygen fugacities. Phenocryst features like reverse zonation of clinopyroxene and amphibole and sieve and patchy textures of plagioclase suggest magma mixing processes. Initial εHf values of Cretaceous zircons (+2 to −2) and inherited, mainly Variscan and older zircons (+3 to −11) provide clear evidence for assimilation of crustal lithologies by mantle-derived Late Cretaceous magmas. Amphibole phenocrysts from an andesite and a dacite give 40Ar/39Ar plateau ages of 94.67 ± 0.40 Ma and 94.56 ± 0.40 Ma, respectively. These dates are the oldest recorded in the entire Late Cretaceous magmatic belt and constrain the onset of the subduction magmatism to the later parts of the Cenomanian stage. Regional correlations based on these results reveal that processes of slab retreat were active also in the eastern part of the magmatic arc. Further, these results outline a clear temporal along-arc trend of progressively younger initiation of the arc magmatism from east to west. Show more
Journal / seriesLithos
Pages / Article No.
SubjectSubduction initiation; Balkan; Cenomanian; Crustal assimilation
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