Southwest Japan is an island arc formed by subduction of the Philippine Sea (PHS) plate. The Quaternary magmatism in this region is characterized by eruptions of high-Sr andesites and dacites, considered to have been derived by melting of the PHS plate. The loci of these volcanoes spatially coincide with seismic discontinuities of the subducted PHS plate. Thus, the magmatism is interpreted as the result of slab melting at the plate tears. However, the processes that promote slab tearing remain unclear. In this study, we applied geochronological and geochemical analyses to late Cenozoic volcanic rocks in southwest Japan as tracers of slab morphology. Two different magma types, ocean-island basalt (OIB) and island-arc basalt (IAB), have occurred over 12 million years (Myr). These two magmas are attributed to different integrations of melts extracted from an originally fertile mantle; the OIBs from high temperature melt (1,300–1,400°C) were extracted at a depth of 40–80 km, whereas the IABs were extracted from a shallower, lower temperature region (30–60 km, 1,200–1,350°C). Secular change in Sr enrichment of IAB likely arose due to a transition of slab-derived fluids, incorporated into magmas as they formed, from water- to melt-dominant one. Progressive shallowing of the subducted PHS plate is responsible for secular change in the properties of slab-derived fluids as well as rollback of OIB volcanoes. Production of chemically variable magmas in the Chugoku district is the surface expression of distorting slab morphology by interaction between mantle and the subducting plate.
- subduction zone
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geochemistry and Petrology
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Space and Planetary Science