The first U-Pb ages from a ca. 26–24 Ma pluton on Guadalcanal, in the intra-oceanic Solomon island arc (southwest Pacific Ocean), reveal Eocene- to Archean-aged zircon xenocrysts. Xenocryst populations at ca. 39–33 Ma and ca. 71–63 Ma correlate with previously obtained ages of supra-subduction magmatism within the arc. A ca. 96 Ma zircon population may be derived from Cretaceous ophiolite basement crust or region-wide continental rift-related magmatism. Xenocryst age populations alternate with periods of oceanic basin formation that fragmented the East Gondwana margin. Early Cretaceous to Archean zircon xenocryst ages imply continental origins and a cryptic source within the arc crust; they may have been introduced by Eocene interaction of a continental fragment with the arc, and concealed by ophiolite obduction. The data demonstrate that continentally derived zircons may be transported thousands of kilometers from their source and added to intra-oceanic arc magmas, a process likely facilitated by cyclical subduction zone advance and retreat. The findings highlight the continuum of arcs that occurs between continental and oceanic end members, and the caution with which zircons should be used to determine the provenance and setting of ancient arc terranes accreted to the continental crust.
- Received 29 June 2014.
- Revision received 24 September 2014.
- Accepted 25 September 2014.
- © Geological Society of America
Gold Open Access: This article is published under the terms of the CC-BY license.