IJG  Vol.4 No.10 , December 2013
Continental Flood Basalts and Rifting: Geochemistry of Cenozoic Yemen Volcanic Province
ABSTRACT

Rift formation is a crucial topic in global tectonics. The Yemen rift-related area is one of the most important provinces, being connected to the rifting processes of the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea and Afar Triangle. In this paper, a review of the Yemen volcanic province and its relations with the Red Sea rifting are presented. Tertiary continental extension in Yemen resulted in the extrusion of large volumes of effusive rocks. This magmatism is divided in the Oligo-Miocene Yemen Trap Series (YTS) separated by an unconformity from the Miocene-Recent Yemen Volcanic Series (YVS). Magmas of the YTS were erupted during the synrift phase and correlate with the first stage of sea-floor spreading of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden (30 - 15 Ma), whereas the magmas of the YVS were emplaced during the post rift phase (10 - 0 Ma). A continental within plate character is recognized for both the YTS and YVS basalts. The YTS volcanic rocks are contemporaneous with, and geochemically similar to, the Ethiopian rift volcanism, just as the volcanic fields of the YVS are geochemically alike to most of the Saudi Arabian volcanics. YTS and YVS have analogous SiO2 ranges, but YVS tend to have, on average, higher alkalis and MgO contents than YTS. Fractional crystallization processes dominate geochemical variations of both series. Primitive magmas (MgO > 7.0%) are enriched in incompatible elements and LREEs with respect to primitive mantle, but YVS are more enriched than YTS. To first order, the different geochemical patterns agree with different degrees of partial melting of an astenospheric mantle source: 25% - 30% of partial melting for YTS and 10% - 3% for YVS. Secondly, the higher degree of enrichment in incompatible elements of YVS reflects also greater contribution of a lithospheric mantle component in their source region.


Cite this paper
M. Mattash, L. Pinarelli, O. Vaselli, A. Minissale, M. Al-Kadasi, M. Shawki and F. Tassi, "Continental Flood Basalts and Rifting: Geochemistry of Cenozoic Yemen Volcanic Province," International Journal of Geosciences, Vol. 4 No. 10, 2013, pp. 1459-1466. doi: 10.4236/ijg.2013.410143.
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