Geochemistry and petrogenesis of the Late Cretaceous Haji-Abad ophiolite (Outer Zagros Ophiolite Belt, Iran): implications for geodynamics of the Bitlis-Zagros suture zone

H. Shafaii Moghadam*, H. Mosaddegh, M. Santosh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The Haji-Abad ophiolite in SW Iran (Outer Zagros Ophiolite Belt) is a remnant of the Late Cretaceous supra-subduction zone ophiolites along the Bitlis-Zagros suture zone of southern Tethys. These ophiolites are coeval in age with the Late Cretaceous peri-Arabian ophiolite belt including the Troodos (Cyprus), Kizildag (Turkey), Baer-Bassit (Syria) and Semail (Oman) in the eastern Mediterranean region, as well as other Late Cretaceous Zagros ophiolites. Mantle tectonites constitute the main lithology of the Haji-Abad ophiolite and are mostly lherzolites, depleted harzburgite with widespread residual and foliated/discordant dunite lenses. Podiform chromitites are common and are typically enveloped by thin dunitic haloes. Harzburgitic spinels are geochemically characterized by low and/or high Cr number, showing tendency to plot both in depleted abyssal and fore-arc peridotites fields. Lherzolites are less refractory with slightly higher bulk REE contents and characterized by 7-12% partial melting of a spinel lherzolitic source whereas depleted harzburgites have very low abundances of REE and represented by more than 17% partial melting. The Haji-Abad ophiolite crustal sequences are characterized by ultramafic cumulates and volcanic rocks. The volcanic rocks comprise pillow lavas and massive lava flows with basaltic to more-evolved dacitic composition. The geochemistry and petrology of the Haji-Abad volcanic rocks show a magmatic progression from early-erupted E-MORB-type pillow lavas to late-stages boninitic lavas. The E-MORB-type lavas have LREE-enriched patterns without (or with slight) depletion in Nb-Ta. Boninitic lavas are highly depleted in bulk REEs and are represented by strong LREE-depleted patterns and Nb-Ta negative anomalies. Tonalitic and plagiogranitic intrusions of small size, with calc-alkaline signature, are common in the ophiolite complex. The Late Cretaceous Tethyan ophiolites like those at the Troodos, eastern Mediterranean, Oman and Zagros show similar ages and geochemical signatures, suggesting widespread supra-subduction zone magmatism in all Neotethyan ophiolites during the Late Cretaceous. The geochemical patterns of the Haji-Abad ophiolites as well as those of other Late Cretaceous Tethyan ophiolites, reflect a fore-arc tectonic setting for the generation of the magmatic rocks in the southern branch of Neotethys during the Late Cretaceous.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)579-602
Number of pages24
JournalGeological Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Boninite
  • Fore-arc magmatism
  • Haji-Abad ophiolite
  • Supra-subduction zone
  • Tethyan ophiolite


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