Supra-subduction and abyssal mantle peridotites of the Coast Range ophiolite, California

  • Sung Hi Choi
  • John W. Shervais
  • Samuel B. Mukasa
Original Paper


The Coast Range ophiolite (CRO) of California is one of the most extensive tracts of oceanic crust preserved in the North American Cordillera, but its origin has long remained controversial. We present here new data on mineral compositions in mantle peridotites that underlie crustal sections of the ophiolite, and show that these are dominantly refractory harzburgites related to high apparent melting in a supra-subduction zone (SSZ) setting. Abyssal peridotite (characterized by high-Al spinels and relatively high Ti, Na, Nd, Sm, Lu, and Hf in pyroxene) occurs at one location where it is associated with SSZ mantle peridotite and volcanic rocks with both oceanic and arc-like geochemistry. SSZ mantle peridotites (characterized by intermediate-Cr/Al or high-Cr spinels, and by extremely low Ti, Na, Nd, Sm, Lu, and Hf in pyroxenes) are associated with crustal sections containing arc-related volcanic rocks, including boninites. This convergence between conclusions based on crustal lithologies and their underlying mantle sections confirms previous proposals that link the CRO to SSZ processes, and seriously undermines hypotheses that invoke formation of the ophiolite at a mid-ocean ridge spreading center.



This research was supported by NSF grants EAR0440255 (Shervais), EAR0440238 (Mukasa) and KOSEF grant R01-2007-000-20443-0 (Choi). Insightful reviews of an earlier version of this manuscript by Robert Coleman, Julian Pearce, and Linda Elkins-Tanton greatly improved the manuscript. Two anonymous CMP reviewers also helped us to clarify a number of points made in the manuscript. All of these reviewers are gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sung Hi Choi
    • 1
    • 2
  • John W. Shervais
    • 3
  • Samuel B. Mukasa
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geological SciencesUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Korea Polar Research InstituteIncheonSouth Korea
  3. 3.Department of GeologyUtah State UniversityLoganUSA

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