Geochemical stratigraphy and correlation within Large Igneous Provinces: the final stages of the Faroe Islands Basalt Group.

TitleGeochemical stratigraphy and correlation within Large Igneous Provinces: the final stages of the Faroe Islands Basalt Group.
TypeJournal Article
Author(s)Millett, J.M., Hole, M.J., Jolley, D.W. and Passey, S.R.
People Links Simon Passey
Keywords Faroe Islands LIP North Atlantic Enni Formation Basalt geochemical correlation


The Faroe Islands Basalt Group (FIBG) comprises a gross stratigraphic thickness of over 6.5 km of dominantly extrusive basaltic facies erupted during the Late Palaeocene to Early Eocene. In this study we present 140 major and trace element analyses from flow by flow field and borehole sample profiles, through the Enni Formation, which comprises the final phase of volcanism preserved on the Faroe Islands. The sample profiles target geographically spaced and overlapping stratigraphic sequences tied relative to a 3D ArcGIS surface for the regionally extensive volcaniclastic Argir Beds marker unit. From these profiles five geochemical groups including one low TiO2 (Low-Ti < 1.5 wt%) and four high TiO2 (High-Ti > 1.5 wt%) groups differentiated by Nb, Zr, Y and V variations are identified in conjunction with previous studies. The spatial and stratigraphic distribution of these groups is mapped across the islands and demonstrates a complex inter-digitated flow field evolution. Within the finer scale variations, broad spatial and temporal development trends are identified demonstrating the potential for correlation within the volcanic succession at the local, tens of kilometres scale. Low-Ti lavas formed in association with lithospheric thinning and developed extensive flow fields between the Faroe Islands and East Greenland contemporaneous to the eruption of High-Ti smaller melt fraction lava flows in both locations. The progression of High-Ti lava groups preserved on either side of the developing rift zone is very similar, but is not, however, chronostratigraphic due to multiple inter-digitations of the chemical types. We tentatively suggest that a previously proposed rift-oblique transfer zone between the Faroe Islands and East Greenland enabled non-uniform lithospheric thinning and the preservation of a near-continuous High-Ti melting region between these areas beyond the onset of Low-Ti eruptions which were initially fed from the west. This study highlights the complex nature of late stage flood basalt plumbing systems and eruption dynamics in a rift proximal setting.