ORIGIN OF LATE CRETACEOUS IGNEOUS ACTIVITY IN THE NORTHERN GULF OF MEXICO BASIN
We hypothesize that tearing of the Farallon slab causes the Late Cretaceous magmatism in northern GoM. A subducting oceanic slab can drag the asthenosphere mantle beneath it into the deeper mantle. Because the subslab asthenospheric mantle is warmer, and more buoyant than the oceanic slab, it can become upwardly mobile through slab gaps, pool at the base of the lithosphere, and result in intraplate volcanism. We speculate that during the middle Cretaceous, a tear initiates at the leading edge of the Farallon slab beneath Arkansas, providing a path for the subslab mantle to upwell and drive alkalic and carbonatitic magmatism. Then the slab tear may propagate orthogonal to the Farallon trench. Such process occur periodically (~ 25 Myr) across the North American continent from Late Cretaceous to Middle Eocene, resulting in the Kansas kimberlites, Montana alkaline province, and kimberlite fields in Saskatchewan. This model correlates the intraplate volcanism with active margins and explains the sublithosphere-derived igneous rocks in a regional tectonic framework. It may also provide boundary constraints for reconstruction of the Farallon slab back to ca. 110 Ma.