ISLAND ARC ORIGIN OF THE VARIEGATED FORMATIONS FROM THE EAST RHODOPE, BULGARIA - IMPLICATIONS FOR THE EVOLUTION OF THE RHODOPE MASSIF

Ivan Haydoutov, Kristina Kolcheva, Lilan-Anna Daieva, Ivan Savov, Charles Carrigan

Abstract


The Variegated Formations (VF) of the eastern Rhodope Mountains (SE Bulgaria) form part of the pre-Alpine basement of the region. They are composed of alternating sediments and igneous rocks with a high-grade metamorphic overprint. Numerous ophiolitic slivers are associated with the VF and include metamorphosed peridotites, ultramafic cumulates, and amphibolitized eclogites. The dismembered ophiolites usually form the base of the VF successions.
The metasedimentary rock types contain terrigenous materials (metapsammites and quartzites) that frequently alternate with metapelites and marbles. The nature of this sedimentary package, along with the field relations and sedimentary features, reflects its flysch character.
The metaigneous rocks of the VF occur either as layers interbedded with the metasediments, or as intrusive bodies that intersect the ultramafic rocks. The principal mineral phases in the metabasites are amphibole + plagioclase + quartz + epidote ± garnet ± chlorite. We calculate temperatures of 630°C to 520°C at 6-2 kbar pressures, indicating moderate amphibolite facies metamorphism. Major rock-forming minerals (amphibole, plagioclase, and garnet) exhibit zoning typical of retrograde P-T conditions.
When plotted on tectonic-setting discrimination diagrams, the metabasic rocks of the VF fall mainly in the fields of modern boninites and arc tholeiites. They show low Ti and Zr contents and key elemental ratios of CaO/TiO2, Al2O3/TiO2, Ti/Zr, Ti/Y and Zr/Y, all transitional between island arc tholeiites and boninites. Chondrite-normalized REE patterns reveal the existence of two different trends: U-shaped REE patterns (for the majority of samples) and LREE depleted patterns. Regardless of the existence of these two trends, the [La/Sm]N ratios of the metabasites perfectly coincide with the same ratios for many Cenozoic boninite series.
The flysch character of the sedimentary sequences, as well as the clear supra-subduction zone affinities of the igneous rocks, indicates that the VF formed in an oceanic island-arc setting. The boninitic affinities of the meta-igneous rocks indicate possible origin in an immature arc. The character of the VF and its association with the dismembered ophiolite slivers shows the presence of a suture zone. The East Rhodope suture zone distinguishes the VF from the rocks structurally below it, which consist of orthogneisses typical of continental crust. Existing U-Pb zircon data indicate that the orthogneisses are of Variscan age. New U-Pb zircon age data for the VF suggest Late Neoproterozoic ages for some protoliths.
Based on regional correlations, the interpretation of the VF as a fossil accretionary prism can be useful for elucidating the structure of the whole Rhodope composite terrane, and for tracing the suture itself to the Central and Western parts of the Massif.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.4454/ofioliti.v29i2.211