Publication Details

Ismail, S., Ali, S. A., Nutman, A. P., Bennett, V. C. & Jones, B. G. (2017). The Pushtashan juvenile suprasubduction zone assemblage of Kurdistan (northeastern Iraq): A Cretaceous (Cenomanian) Neo-Tethys missing link. Geoscience Frontiers, 8 (5), 1073-1087.


The Pushtashan suprasubduction zone assemblage of volcanic rocks, gabbros, norites and peridotites occurs in the Zagros suture zone, Kurdistan region, northeastern Iraq. Volcanic rocks are dominant in the assemblage and consist mainly of basalt and basaltic andesite flows with interlayered red shale and limestone horizons. Earlier lavas tend to be MORB-like, whereas later lavas display island arc tholeiite to boninitic geochemical characteristics. Tholeiitic gabbros intrude the norites and display fractionation trends typical of crystallisation under low-pressure conditions, whereas the norites display calc-alkaline traits, suggesting their source included mantle metasomatised by fluids released from subducted oceanic crust. Enrichment of Rb, Ba, Sr, Th and the presence of negative Nb anomalies indicate generation in a suprasubduction zone setting. Trondhjemite and granodiorite intrusions are present in the volcanic rocks, gabbros and norites. SHRIMP U-Pb dating of magmatic zircons from a granodiorite yields a mean 206Pb/238U age of 96.0 ± 2.0 Ma (Cenomanian). The initial e(open) Hf value for the zircons show a narrow range from +12.8 to +15.6, with a weighted mean of +13.90 ± 0.96. This initial value is within error of model depleted mantle at 96 Ma or slightly below that, in the field of arc rocks with minimal contamination by older continental crust. The compositional bimodality of the Pushtashan suprasubduction sequence suggests seafloor spreading during the initiation of subduction, with a lava stratigraphy from early-erupted MORB transitioning into calc-alkaline lavas and finally by 96 Ma intrusion of granodioritic and trondhjemitic bodies with juvenile crustal isotopic signatures. The results confirm another Cretaceous arc remnant preserved as an allochthon within the Iraqi segment of the Cenozoic Zagros suture zone. Implications for the closure of Neo-Tethys are discussed.



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