Magmatism at the Eurasian-North American modern plate boundary: Constraints from alkaline volcanism in the Chersky Belt (Yakutia)
The Chersky seismic belt (NE-Russia) forms the modern plate boundary of the Eurasian-North American continental plate. The geodynamic evolution of this continent-continent setting is highly complex and remains a matter of debate, as the extent and influence of the Mid-Arctic Ocean spreading center on the North Asian continent since the Eocene remains unclear. The progression from a tensional stress regime to a modern day transpressional one in the Chersky seismic belt, makes the understanding even more complicated. The alkaline volcanism that has erupted along the Chersky range from Eocene through to the Recent can provide constraints on the geodynamic evolution of this continental boundary, however, the source and petrogenetic evolution of these volcanic rocks and their initiating mechanisms are poorly understood.We studied basanites of the central Chersky belt, which are thought to represent the first alkaline volcanic activity in the area, after initial opening of the Arctic Ocean basin. We present mineral and bulk rock geochemical data as well as Sr-Nd-Pb-Hf isotopes of the alkaline suite of rocks combined with new precise K-Ar and 40Ar/39Ar dating, and discuss an integrated tectono-magmatic model for the Chersky belt. Our findings show that the basanites were generated from a homogeneous asthenospheric mantle reservoir with an EM-1 isotopic flavor, under relatively ‘dry' conditions at segregation depths around 110 km and temperatures of ~ 1500 °C. Trace element and isotope systematics combined with mantle potential temperature estimates offer no confirmation of magmatism related to subduction or plume activity. Mineral geochemical and petrographical observations together with bulk geochemical evidence indicate a rapid ascent of melts and high cooling rates after emplacement in the continental crust. Our preferred model is that volcanism was triggered by extension and thinning of the lithosphere combined with adiabatic upwelling of the underlying mantle at 37 Ma. This suggests that at that time, rift tectonics in the Mid-Arctic Ocean most likely had also affected the North-Asian continent, causing volcanic activity in the Chersky belt, before the regional geodynamic regime changed from a tensional to compressional. Our conclusions contribute not only to the understanding of volcanism in the Chersky seismic belt (NE-Russia) but also to general aspects of plate dynamics between the Eurasian and North American continent.