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Journal Articles Journal of Petrology Year : 2023

Architecture of the Lesser Antilles arc illustrated by melt inclusions


Abstract Volatiles are an essential aspect of subduction zones and constraining their cycling through subduction zones is of prime importance to better understand the genesis, transport, storage and eruption of arc magmas. Here we performed an along-arc investigation of the chemical composition of melt inclusions trapped in minerals representative of ten volcanic centers and 23 key explosive eruptions along the presently active Lesser Antilles arc, from Montserrat in the North to St. Vincent in the South. We use the melt inclusion compositions to reconstruct pre-eruptive conditions, especially pre-eruptive magma storage and degassing levels that highlight how the magma plumbing system is organized and works and to discuss magma source characteristics. All major and selected trace elements and volatiles (H2O, CO2, S, halogens (F, Cl, Br)) have been measured on the same melt inclusions when possible. Eruptions dominantly involved andesitic to dacitic magmas (Montserrat, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique, St. Lucia) and basaltic andesite magmas from St. Vincent. Melt inclusions have been used as pressure probes for magmas, for inferring crustal equilibration pressures. We shed light on the systematic occurrence and lateral complexity of a vertical transcrustal magmatic systems feeding active volcanoes. The geochemical view of the architecture of the plumbing system and in particular the Moho’s depth is more variable than the view obtained by seismic data along the Lesser Antilles arc. We propose that the discontinuity between the upper and the middle crust is a major magma ponding zone beneath most of the Lesser Antilles islands and that the crustal structure thus imparts a control on the geochemical signature of arc lavas. Melt inclusions are highly differentiated (dacitic to rhyolitic in composition), so they are distant in composition from the primary, mantle-derived magmas, but they provide indirect information about the magmatic sources. The along-arc variability in Y and heavy rare earth element contents of melt inclusions is consistent with the presence of garnet in the mantle source. Our results also indicate an important contribution of oxidized and saline slab-derived fluids to the magma source predominantly in the southern Lesser Antilles that may have implication on the accretionary system behaviour. In addition, a high geographical gradient between sediment melt and slab-derived fluid contributions, illustrating high variability in magmas erupted in close spatial association is reported for some islands, such Martinique and Dominica. Volatile contents are variable for MIs across the arc: the highest H2O (<8 wt%), Cl (up to 3800 ppm) and Br (up to 20 ppm) concentrations occur in MIs from Dominica. But there is no systematic correlation between MI volatile content and position along the arc. Halogen Cl/F and Cl/Br ratios vary from one island to another, even between the different eruptions, but without any along arc zoning, indicating that halogen fractionation occurred by fluid transfer (variable assimilation rate of fluids derived from seawater) or by heterogeneities of mantle origin inherited from the initial differentiation of the mantle.
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Dates and versions

insu-04091994 , version 1 (09-05-2023)



Hélène Balcone-Boissard, Georges Boudon, Thiébaut D’augustin, Saskia Erdmann, Etienne Deloule, et al.. Architecture of the Lesser Antilles arc illustrated by melt inclusions. Journal of Petrology, 2023, 64 (6), pp.egad020. ⟨10.1093/petrology/egad020⟩. ⟨insu-04091994⟩
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