The Petrology and Geochemistry of REE-Enriched, Alkaline Volcanic Rocks of Ambitle Island, Feni Island Group, Papua New Guinea

Ponyalou, OL
Petterson, MG
Espi, JO
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Ambitle in the Feni Island Group is located within the NW trending Tabar–Lihir–Tanga–Feni (TLTF) volcanic island chain, Melanesian Arc, northeastern Papua New Guinea. The TLTF chain is renowned for its alkaline magmatism, geothermal activity, copper–gold mineralization, and world-class gold mining. Although its geochemical patterns indicate island arc signatures (i.e., high LILE and depleted HFSE), TLTF volcanism is not directly related to the older Melanesian Arc subduction system. However, it may have been influenced by source mantle metasomatism linked to the older subduction. The purpose of this study is to (1) present and interpret the petrographic, mineralogical, and geochemical data from Feni within the context of the tectonic evolution of the TLTF and (2) propose a geodynamic, petrogenetic model for the Feni volcanic rocks. The key methodologies used in this study are field mapping and sampling, petrographic analysis using the optical microscope, whole-rock geochemical analysis via XRF and ICP MS, and mineralogical analysis using an electron microprobe. The main rock types sampled in this study include feldspathoid-bearing basalt, trachybasalt, phonotephrite, trachyandesite, and trachydacite. Minerals identified include forsteritic olivine, diopside, augite, labradorite, andesine, anorthitic plagioclase, nepheline, and leucite in the primitive mafic suites, whereas the more evolved intermediate and felsic hypabyssal suites contain amphibole, albite, orthoclase, biotite, and either rare quartz or feldspathoids. Amphibole composition is primarily magnesiohastingsite with minor pargasite formed under polybaric conditions. Accessory minerals include apatite, titanite, and Ti-magnetite. We propose that limestone assimilation followed by fractional crystallization are plausible dominant processes in the geochemical evolution of the Ambitle volcanics. Clinopyroxene fractionation is dominant in the mafic volcanics whereas hornblende fractionation is a major petrologic process within the intermediate suites proven by the enrichment of LREE and depletions in MREE and HREE. Feni magmas are also highly enriched in REEs relative to neighboring arcs. This study is globally significant as alkaline magmas are important sources of Cu, Au, and REE as critical elements for green energy and modern technology.

37 Earth Sciences , 3703 Geochemistry , 3705 Geology , 3706 Geophysics , 0403 Geology , 0907 Environmental Engineering , 0909 Geomatic Engineering , 3705 Geology , 3706 Geophysics
Geosciences (Switzerland), ISSN: 2076-3263 (Print); 2076-3263 (Online), MDPI AG, 13(11), 339-339. doi: 10.3390/geosciences13110339
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