Growth of the upper crust in intra-oceanic island arcs by intrusion of basaltic magmas: the case of the Koloula Igneous Complex, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands (SW Pacific)

Publication Name

Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology


The Pleistocene (2.2–1.5 Ma) Koloula Igneous Complex (KIC) on Guadalcanal in the Solomon island arc consists of a low-K calc-alkaline sequence of ultramafic to felsic plutonic rocks. We present whole-rock major and trace element and Sr–Nd-Pb isotope data, as well as mineral compositions that record the magmatic evolution of the complex. The intrusive sequence is grouped into two cycles, Cycle 1 and 2, comprising gabbroic or dioritic to granodioritic rocks. The major and trace element data of each cycle forms a single calc-alkaline fractional crystallisation trend. The distinct radiogenic isotope and incompatible element compositions of the Cycle 1 and 2 intrusions imply slightly different mantle sources. The KIC formed by shallow (0.1 GPa) fractional crystallisation of mantle-derived Al-rich basaltic parental magmas (6–8 wt.% MgO) that were formed by deeper-level (0.7 GPa) fractionation of olivine and pyroxene from Mg-rich (~ 11 wt.% MgO) primary magmas in the Solomon intra-oceanic island arc. Olivine, clinopyroxene, plagioclase, amphibole, biotite, apatite, and Fe–Ti oxides fractionated from the KIC’s high-Al basaltic parental magmas to form calc-alkaline magmas. Liquid line of descent trends calculated using mass balance calculations closely match major element trends observed in the KIC data. The KIC crystallised at shallow, upper crustal depths of ~ 2.0–3.0 km in ~ 20 km-thick island arc crust. This complex is typical of other Cenozoic calc-alkaline ultramafic to felsic plutons in Pacific intra-oceanic island arcs in terms of field relationships, petrology, mineral chemistry and whole-rock geochemistry. Hornblende fractionation played a significant role in the formation of the calc-alkaline felsic plutonic rocks in these Cenozoic arc plutons, causing an enrichment of SiO2 and light rare earth elements. These plutons represent the fossil magma systems of arc volcanoes; thus, the upper arc crust is probably generated by migration of magmatic centres.

Open Access Status

This publication may be available as open access





Article Number


Funding Sponsor

Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung



Link to publisher version (DOI)