Formation of the Troodos Ophiolite at a triple junction: evidence from trace elements in volcanic glass

M. Regelous*, K. M. Haase, S. Freund, M. Keith, C. G. Weinzierl, C. Beier, P. A. Brandl, T. Endres, H. Schmidt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Fresh volcanic glasses from the extrusive section of the Troodos Ophiolite in Akaki Canyon are tholeiitic and basaltic to dacitic in composition. Compared to normal MORB they have extremely low fractionation corrected Na8, Fe8 and Ti8 and are enriched in fluid-mobile trace elements, including U, Ba, Rb, Sr and Pb, relative to non-fluid mobile elements of similar incompatibility. Trace element compositions of Akaki lavas define an array extending between 'back-arc lava'-like compositions, and the field defined by Troodos boninites from the upper part of the lava sequence. Troodos lavas were derived from a mantle source that underwent early melt depletion, and later enrichment by both fluids and small degree melts. These processes can explain the unusual negative correlation of Pb/Ce with Zr/Nb and Ba/Nb in Troodos extrusives. Although some Troodos lavas are similar in composition to lavas from back-arc spreading centres, the boninites from the upper parts of the lava pile do not appear to have exact compositional equivalents among lavas from fore-arcs, back-arcs or other tectonic settings where similar rocktypes have been recovered. We suggest that the geochemical evolution inferred for the mantle source of Troodos lavas, together with geological evidence is most consistent with an origin for the Troodos Ophiolite at a spreading centre close to a ridge-trench-trench, or ridge-trench-transform triple junction, where highly depleted, subduction-modified, fluid-enriched mantle wedge material was able to upwell and decompress to shallow depths in a 'fore-arc' location. In such a tectonic setting, arc volcanism is captured by the spreading centre, explaining the lack of evidence for subaerial arc magmatism in Troodos. Rapid lateral migration of the triple junction could account for the similar ages of other Tethyan supra-subduction zone ophiolites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-79
Number of pages14
JournalChemical Geology
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Ophiolite
  • Trace elements
  • Troodos
  • Volcanic glass


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