Louisville Seamount Chain: Petrogenetic processes and geochemical evolution of the mantle source

Vanderkluysen, L, Mahoney JJ, Koppers AAP, Beier C, Regelous M, Gee JS, Lonsdale PF.  2014.  Louisville Seamount Chain: Petrogenetic processes and geochemical evolution of the mantle source. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 15:2380-2400.

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cook-austral islands, East Pacific Rise, melting processes, ocean island, ontong-java plateau, pb isotope evolution, rare-earth-element, south-pacific, trace-element, true polar wander


The Louisville Seamount Chain is a similar to 4300 km long chain of submarine volcanoes in the southwestern Pacific that spans an age range comparable to that of the Hawaiian-Emperor chain and is commonly thought to represent a hot spot track. Dredging in 2006 recovered igneous rocks from 33 stations on 22 seamounts covering some 49 Myr of the chain's history. All samples are alkalic, similar to previous dredge and drill samples, providing no evidence for a Hawaiian-type tholeiitic shield-volcano stage. Major and trace element variations appear to be predominantly controlled by small but variable extents of fractional crystallization and by partial melting. Isotopic values define only a narrow range, in agreement with a surprising long-term source homogeneity-relative to the length scale of melting-and overlap with proposed fields for the "C" and "FOZO" mantle end-members. Trace element and isotope geochemistry is uncorrelated with either seamount age or lithospheric thickness at the time of volcanism, except for a small number of lavas from the westernmost Louisville Seamounts built on young (<20 Ma old) oceanic crust. The Louisville hot spot has been postulated to be the source of the similar to 120 Ma Ontong Java Plateau, but the Louisville isotopic signature cannot have evolved from a source with isotopic ratios like those measured for Ontong Java Plateau basalts. On the other hand, this signature can be correlated with that of samples dredged from the Danger Islands Troughs of the Manihiki Plateau, which has been interpreted as a rifted fragment of the "Greater" Ontong Java Plateau.