Metallogeny of Western Pacific submarine volcanic arcs

AUTHORS: Mark Hannington

ABSTRACT: Mapping of submarine arc-backarc systems in the western Pacific is greatly enhancing current models of arc metallogeny, with implications for exploration on land. In particular, comparisons of the formation conditions, tectonic settings, and likelihood of preservation of magmatic-hydrothermal systems at the active volcanic fronts of submarine arcs, in intra-arc rifts, and in deeper back-arc basins sheds light on the timespace relationships of diverse mineral deposit types. Juxtaposition of different mineral deposits is particularly common in structurally complex arc-backarc systems that are affected by ridge subduction, oblique collisions, opposing subduction zones, and rapid changes in stress regimes (e.g., from compressional to tensional and back to compressional). Microplate tectonics that characterize the western Pacific today were also likely important in many Paleozoic active margins, as well as in Archean and Paleoproterozoic granite-greenstone belts. New details emerging from high-resolution swath bathymetry of active volcanic arcs are revealing important clues to their complex structure, magmatic evolution, and metallogeny at a scale which is increasingly applicable to land-based exploration.

KEYWORDS: Submarine volcanic arcs, regional metallogeny

EAN: SGA_2011_A004
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