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An 40Ar/39Ar geochronology on a mid-Eocene igneous event on the Barton and Weaver peninsulas

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An 40Ar/39Ar geochronology on a mid-Eocene igneous event on the Barton and Weaver peninsulas
Lee, Jong Ik
Xiang-Shen Zheng
Noreen Evans
Ri-Xiang Zhu
Fei Wang
Choe, Won Hie
Geochemistry & Geophysics
40Ar/39Ar geochronology; Antarctic; delamination; geodynamics; igneous event
Issue Date
AGU and the Geochemical Society
Lee, Jong Ik, et al. 2009. "An 40Ar/39Ar geochronology on a mid-Eocene igneous event on the Barton and Weaver peninsulas". Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, 10(12): 1-29.
The genesis of basaltic to andesitic lavas, mafic dikes, and granitoid plutons composing the subaerial cover on the Barton and Weaver peninsulas, Antarctica, is related to arc formation and subduction processes. Precise dating of these polar rocks using conventional 40Ar/39Ar techniques is compromised by the high degree of alteration (with loss on ignition as high as 8%). In order to minimize the alteration effects we have followed a sample preparation process that includes repeated acid leaching, acetone washing, and hand picking, followed by an overnight bake at 250°C. After this procedure, groundmass samples can yield accurate age plateaus consisting of 70%?100% of the total 39Ark released using high­resolution heating schedules. The different rock types studied on the Barton and Weaver peninsulas yielded almost coeval ages, suggesting a giant igneous event in the Weaver and Barton peninsulas at 44.5 Ma. A compilation of newly published ages indicate that this event took place throughout the whole South Shetland Islands, suggesting a dynamic incident occurred at this stage during the arc evolution history. We related this igneous event to a mantle delamination mechanism during Eocene times. The delamination process began at ∼52 Ma, and the resultant upwelling of asthenosphere baffled the subduction of Phoenix plate, causing an abrupt decrease in convergence rate. Then multiple magmatic sources were triggered, resulting in a culminating igneous activity during 50?40 Ma with a peak at ∼45 Ma along the archipelago. The delamination also caused the extension regime indicated by the dike swarm, plugs and sills all over the archipelago, and the uplift of Smith metamorphic complex and Livingston Island. Delamination process may have finished at some time during 40?30 Ma, leaving a weak igneous activity at that stage and thereafter. The convergence rate then recovered gradually, as indicated by the magnetic anomaly identifications. This model i
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