Articles | Volume 9, issue 3
Research article
05 Jun 2018
Research article |  | 05 Jun 2018

Boninite and boninite-series volcanics in northern Zambales ophiolite: doubly vergent subduction initiation along Philippine Sea plate margins

Americus Perez, Susumu Umino, Graciano P. Yumul Jr., and Osamu Ishizuka

Abstract. A key component of subduction initiation rock suites is boninite, a high-magnesium andesite that is uniquely predominant in western Pacific forearc terranes and in select Tethyan ophiolites such as Oman and Troodos. We report, for the first time, the discovery of low-calcium, high-silica boninite in the middle Eocene Zambales ophiolite (Luzon Island, Philippines). Olivine–orthopyroxene microphyric high-silica boninite, olivine–clinopyroxene–phyric low-silica boninite and boninitic basalt occur as lapilli fall deposits and pillow lava flows in the upper volcanic unit of the juvenile arc section (Barlo locality, Acoje Block) of the Zambales ophiolite. This upper volcanic unit overlies a lower volcanic unit consisting of basaltic andesite, andesite to dacitic lavas and explosive eruptive material (subaqueous pahoehoe and lobate sheet flows, agglutinate and spatter deposits) forming a low-silica boninite series. The overall volcanic stratigraphy of the extrusive sequence at Barlo resembles holes U1439 and U1442 drilled by IODP Expedition 352 in the Izu–Ogasawara (Bonin) trench slope. The presence of depleted proto-arc basalts in the Coto Block (45 Ma) (Geary et al., 1989), boninite and boninite series volcanics in Barlo (Acoje Block (44 Ma)) and simultaneous and post-boninite moderate-Fe arc tholeiites in Sual and Subic areas of the Acoje Block (44–43 Ma) indicate that the observed subduction initiation stratigraphy in the Izu–Ogasawara–Mariana forearc is also present in the Zambales ophiolite. Paleolatitudes derived from tilt-corrected sites in the Acoje Block place the juvenile arc of northern Zambales ophiolite in the western margin of the Philippine Sea plate. In this scenario, the origin of Philippine Sea plate boninites (IBM and Zambales) would be in a doubly vergent subduction initiation setting.

Short summary
The occurrence of boninite in the northern Zambales ophiolite is reported. Boninite is a relatively rare high-magnesium andesite that is intimately associated with early arc volcanism and the initiation of subduction zones. Taken as a whole, the geological and geochemical characteristics of Zambales and Izu-Ogasawara–Mariana forearc volcanic sequences enables a refined geodynamic reconstruction of subduction initiation.