Late Cenozoic volcanism in the western Woodlark Basin area, SW Pacific: the sources of marine volcanic ash layers based on their elemental and Sr-Nd isotope compositions
Tephra fallout layers and volcaniclastic deposits, derived from volcanic sources around and on the Papuan Peninsula, form a substantial part of the Woodlark Basin marine sedimentary succession. Sampling by the Ocean Drilling Program Leg 180 in the western Woodlark Basin provides the opportunity to document the distribution of the volcanically-derived components as well as to evaluate their chronology, chemistry, and isotope compositions in order to gain information on the volcanic sources and original magmatic systems. Glass shards selected from 57 volcanogenic layers within the sampled Pliocene-Pleistocene sedimentary sequence show predominantly rhyolitic compositions, with subordinate basaltic andesites, basaltic trachy-andesites, andesites, trachy-andesites, dacites, and phonolites. It was possible to correlate only a few of the volcanogenic layers between sites using geochemical and age information apparently because of the formation of strongly compartmentalised sedimentary realms on this actively rifting margin. In many cases it was possible to correlate Leg 180 volcanic components with their eruption source areas based on chemical and isotope compositions. Likely sources for a considerable number of the volcanogenic deposits are Moresby and Dawson Strait volcanoes (D'Entrecasteaux Islands region) for high-K calc-alkaline glasses. The Dawson Strait volcanoes appear to represent the source for five peralkaline tephra layers. One basaltic andesitic volcaniclastic layer shows affinities to basaltic andesites from the Woodlark spreading tip and Cheshire Seamount. For other layers, a clear identification of the sources proved impossible, although their isotope and chemical signatures suggest similarities to south-west Pacific subduction volcanism, e.g. New Britain and Tonga-Kermadec island arcs. Volcanic islands in the Trobriand Arc (for example, Woodlark Island Amphlett Islands and/or Egum Atoll) are probable sources for several volcaniclastic layers with ages between 1.5 to 3 Ma. The Lusancay Islands can be excluded as a source for the volcanogenic layers found during Leg 180. Generally, the volcanogenic layers indicate much calc-alkaline rhyolitic volcanism in eastern Papua since 3.8 Ma. Starting at 135 ka, however, peralkaline tephra layers appear. This geochemical change in source characteristics might reflect the onset of a change in geotectonic regime, from crustal subduction to spreading, affecting the D'Entrecasteaux Islands region. Initial 143Nd/144Nd ratios as low as 0.5121 and 0.5127 for two of the tephra layers are interpreted as indicating that D'Entrecasteaux Islands volcanism younger than 2.9 Ma occasionally interacted with the Late Archean basement, possibly reflecting the mobilisation of the deep continental crust during active rift propagation.