Geochemistry International

, 49:849 | Cite as

Geochemistry of the volcanoplutonic association of the Shaw massif (East Antarctica): Composition, genesis, and geodynamic interpretation



This paper reports the first petrological and geochemical evidence for the Meso-Neoproterozoic metamorphic and metaintrusive rocks of the Shaw Mountain massif (Prince Charles Mountains, East Antarctica). It was shown that the orthogneisses (plagiogneisses) and metabasites of the massif were formed as constituents of a volcanoplutonic complex, which included a variety of igneous rocks of normal and subalkaline groups, from ultrabasic to silicic and was assigned to the volcanic tholeiite basalt-andesite-rhyolite, plutonic peridotite-gabbro, and late (?) calc-alkaline gabbro-diorite-plagiogranite associations. The distribution of major and compatible trace elements indicates the fractionation of the primary melts that produced the volcanoplutonic association of the Shaw massif. With respect to the distribution of REE and trace elements and some trace element ratios, the metabasic rocks of the Shaw massif correspond mainly to enriched and normal basalts of mid-ocean ridges, continental rifts, and ocean islands, which suggests a contribution from a plume mantle source. It was found that the region of the Shaw massif is a high-grade metamorphosed margin of the Fisher volcanoplutonic complex, a Mesoproterozoic structure of single geodynamic nature. This is supported by the spatial proximity of the Shaw and Fisher regions, the similar behaviors of most major elements and distribution patterns of trace elements and REE in comparable magmatic associations, and the similar ages of some plutonic associations. Based on the petrological and geochemical data, an alternative geotectonic model was proposed for this region. According to this model, the Fisher complex was formed in a setting of continental rifting coupled with the processes of mantle diapirism, which was subsequently changed by the compression stage. During rifting, the structure could experience significant opening accompanied by ultrabasic-basic tholeiitic magmatism with a significant contribution of mantle material. A subsequent inversion resulted in that the rift structure underwent considerable horizontal compression accompanied by calc-alkaline magmatism and the formation of narrow intracratonic fold zones. The cyclic character of rifting processes and superposition of young rift systems on older ones was also established in the Phanerozoic geotectonic history of the region of the Prince Charles Mountains.


volcanoplutonic associations East Antarctica Shaw massif igneous geochemistry metabasites rifting mantle plumes 


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© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Gramberg All-Russia Research Institute of Geology and Mineral Resources of the World Ocean (VNIIOkeanologiya)St. PetersburgRussia

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