Large volumes of rejuvenated volcanism in Samoa: Evidence supporting a tectonic influence on late-stage volcanism



[1] Hot spot volcanoes are commonly constructed in a characteristic sequence of stages. After the volumetrically dominant shield stage, a protracted period of quiescence ends with a final stage of activity: rejuvenated volcanism. The mechanism responsible for generating rejuvenated volcanism is not generally agreed upon. New data obtained for samples 200 m down-section in a deeply incised canyon on Savai‘i (Samoa) are unusually enriched isotopically and indicate a relatively voluminous rejuvenated stage compared to other intraplate volcanoes. Using a modified flexural model originally proposed for Hawai‘i, we suggest that the location of Samoa near the Tonga Trench terminus causes plate flexure resulting in upward flow of the shallow mantle driving partial melting. In particular, subduction-related plate bending in the Samoan region may cause a larger flexural amplitude than generated by volcanic loading in Hawai‘i. The larger amplitude may explain the larger volume of rejuvenated melt in Samoa, constrained by our new data. Moreover, we argue that Sr-Nd-Pb-Os-He-Ne isotopes in Samoan rejuvenated lavas are all consistent with sampling of a lithospheric component that is characterized by a metasomatic imprint from the Pacific Plate's earlier passage over the Rarotonga hot spot. Furthermore, temperature estimates for the melts suggest a drop in temperature during the predicted shallower melting due to flexural uplift, compared to the conditions during shield volcanism. Thus, flexural bending and metasomatism of the Samoan lithosphere may have generated the voluminous and geochemically distinct Samoan rejuvenated lavas, implying the lithosphere may play an important role during this stage in non- Hawaiian hot spots.