Masirah – The other Oman ophiolite: A better analogue for mid-ocean ridge processes?
AffiliationUniversity of Derby
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AbstractOman has two ophiolites – the better known late Cretaceous northern Oman (or Semail) ophiolite and the lesser known and smaller, Jurassic Masirah ophiolite located on the eastern coast of the country adjacent to the Indian Ocean. A number of geological, geochronological and geochemical lines of evidence strongly suggest that the northern Oman ophiolite did not form at a mid-ocean ridge but rather in a supra-subduction zone setting by fast spreading during subduction initiation. In contrast the Masirah ophiolite is structurally part of a series of ophiolite nappes which are rooted in the Indian Ocean floor. There are significant geochemical differences between the Masirah and northern Oman ophiolites and none of the supra-subduction features typical of the northern Oman ophiolite are found at Masirah. Geochemically Masirah is MORB, although in detail it contains both enriched and depleted MORB reflecting a complex source for the lavas and dykes. The enrichment of this source predates the formation of the ophiolite. The condensed crustal section on Masirah (ca 2 km) contains a very thin gabbro sequence and is thought to reflect its genesis from a cool mantle source associated with the early stages of sea-floor spreading during the early separation of eastern and western Gondwana. These data suggest that the Masirah ophiolite is a suitable analogue for an ophiolite created at a mid-ocean ridge, whereas the northern Oman ophiolite is not. The stratigraphic history of the Masirah ophiolite shows that it remained a part of the oceanic crust for ca 80 Ma. The chemical variability and enrichment of the Masirah lavas is similar to that found elsewhere in Indian Ocean basalts and may simply reflect a similar provenance rather than a feature fundamental to the formation of the ophiolite.
CitationRollinson, H. (2017) 'Masirah – The other Oman ophiolite: A better analogue for mid-ocean ridge processes?', Geoscience Frontiers, DOI: 10.1016/j.gsf.2017.04.009