Deep inside a Neoproterozoic intra-oceanic arc: growth, differentiation and exhumation of the Amalaoulaou complex (Gourma, Mali).
Earth and related Environmental sciences
Geodynamics and mineral resources
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We show here that the Amalaoulaou complex, in the Pan-African belt of West Africa (Gourma, Mali), corresponds to the lower and middle sections of a Neoproterozoic intra-oceanic arc. This complex records a 90 130-Ma-long evolution of magmatic inputs and differentiation above a subducting oceanic slab. Early c. 793 Ma-old metagabbros crystallised at lower crustal or uppermost mantle depths (25 30 km) and have geochemical characteristic of high-alumina basalts extracted from a depleted mantle source slightly enriched by slab-derived sedimentary components ((La/Sm)N\1; eNd: ?5.4 6.2; 87Sr/86Sr: 0.7027 0.7029). In response to crustal thickening, these mafic rocks were recrystallised into garnet-granulites (850 1,000 C; 10 12 kbar) and subject to local dehydration melting reactions, forming trondhjemititic leucosomes with garnet clinopyroxene rutile residues. Slightly after the granulitic event, the arc root was subject to strong HT shearing during partial exhumation (detachment faults/rifting or thrusting), coeval with the emplacement of spineland garnet-pyroxenite dykes crystallised from a high-Mg andesitic parental magma. Quartz and hornblende-gabbros (700 660 Ma) with composition typical of hydrous volcanic rocks from mature arcs ((La/Sm)N: 0.9 1.8; eNd: ?4.6 to ?5.2; 87Sr/86Sr: 0.7028 0.7031) were subsequently emplaced at mid-arc crust levels (*15 km). Trace element and isotopic data indicate that magmas tapped a depleted mantle source significantly more enriched in oceanic sedimentary components (0.2%). Exhumation occurred either in two stages (700 660 and 623 Ma) or in one stage (623 Ma) with a final exhumation of the arc root along cold P-T path (550 C, 6 9 kbar; epidote amphibolite and greenschist facies conditions) during the main Pan- African collision event (620 580 Ma). The composition of magmas forming the Cryogenian Amalaoulaou arc and the processes leading to intra-arc differentiation are strikingly comparable to those observed in the deep section of exposed Mezosoic oceanic arcs, namely the Kohistan and Talkeetna complex. This evolution of the Amalaoulaou oceanic arc and its accretion towards the West African craton belong to the life and closure of the Pharusian Ocean that eventually led to the formation of the Greater Gondwana supercontinent, a similar story having occurred on the other side of the Sahara with the Mozambique Ocean.
CitationBerger, J.; Caby, R.; Liégeois, J.P.; Mercier, J.C.; Demaiffe, D. (2011). Deep inside a Neoproterozoic intra-oceanic arc: growth, differentiation and exhumation of the Amalaoulaou complex (Gourma, Mali).. , Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, Vol. 162, 773-796, DOI: 10.1007/s00410-011-0624-5.