Multiple generations of forearc mafic-ultramafic rocks in the Timor-Tanimbar ophiolite, eastern Indonesia

Akira Ishikawa, Yoshiyuki Kaneko, Ade Kadarusman, Tsutomu Ota

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39 Citations (Scopus)


We investigated mafic-ultramafic rocks distributed in the Timor-Tanimbar region as a possible modern analogue for the Mediterranean-type ophiolites in the Tethyan system. The geological occurrence suggests that the buoyant subduction of Australian continent uplifted the fragments of newly formed mantle-crust section, which extends to the neighboring preemplaced forearc marginal basins. However, we recognized a large variety of igneous features, which is consistent with the lack of complete succession and the presence of abundant crosscutting structures. All peridotite masses in Timor (Mutis, Atapupu and Dili) are mostly fertile (lherzolitic) in compositions. In addition, we found depleted harzburgite, highly refractory dunite and olivine websterite to occur as minor constituents, which display compositional contrast to those of the lherzolites. Structurally overlying Ocussi volcanics resemble island-arc tholeiite in terms of trace element characteristics, apparently inconsistent with genetic relationship with Timor lherzolite masses. In eastern small islands (Moa and Dai), all types of ophiolitic rocks display varying degrees of island-arc affinities. Cumulate origin of wehrlite and gabbroic rocks in Dai is marked by early crystallization of clinopyroxene and common occurrence of high-calcic plagioclase. Dikes cutting the gabbro sequence have weak island-arc signatures relative to those of Ocussi volcanics. Mildly depleted lherzolite-harzburgite in Moa was intruded by high-Mg andesitic magma, which crystallized hornblende gabbro containing high-Mg orthopyroxene. These petrological and geochemical variations can be best explained by the combination of (1) a temporal change of igneous activity possibly associated with development of forearc basin and (2) the emplacement of spatially different forearc regions in each locality. Unusual occurrence of fertile lherzolite in the forearc setting, generation of high-Mg andesite magmatism, inverted metamorphic grade recorded from associated metamorphic rocks, and formation of marginal basins may be linked to the injection of high-temperature asthenospheric materials into the mantle wedge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-217
Number of pages18
JournalGondwana Research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Forearc
  • Indonesia
  • Ophiolite
  • Timor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology


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