Petrology, geochemistry and origin of the Sierra De Baza ophiolites (Betic Cordillera, Spain)
Keywords:Ophiolite, Betic Cordillera, Mesozoic Tethys
In this work we present for the first time a petrological-geochemical and genetic study of the Sierra de Baza ophiolites, which represent one of the
ophiolitic occurrences of the Betic Cordillera (Southern Spain). They are composed of ultramafic, mafic and sedimentary rocks, largely affected both by ocean floor and polyphasic metamorphism during the Alpine orogeny. Ultramafic rocks are serpentinized lherzolites and harzburgites, whereas the metabasites are meta-gabbros and meta-basalts. On the whole, Sierra de Baza ophiolites show striking geochemical similarities with those from other Betic occurrences, as well as with other Tethyan ophiolites of the Western Mediterranean (Calabria, Internal and External Ligurides, Platta, Corsica and Western Alps). In particular, metabasites show petrological and geochemical features similar to the E-MORB magmatism of the Atlantic Ridge between 45 and 63ºN generated under ultra-slow spreading ridge conditions. This process originated a strip of few hundreds km of ocean floor at the western end of the Tethys, located SE of the Iberian-European margin during the Mesozoic. The inversion of the stress regime in the European-Iberian and African geodynamics, starting from the Late-Middle Cretaceous, caused subduction and metamorphism in the eclogite facies of oceanic slices that were partially
exhumed on the continental margin, forming the Betic Ophiolites. These ophiolites were disarticulated and dismembered as a result of the shift towards SW of the Alboran continental block, progressively separated from the AlKaPeCa (Alboran, Kabilias, Peloritani, Calabria) microplate, finally occupying their current position in the Betic Internal Zones.