Kikiktat Volcanics of Arctic Alaska—Melting of Harzburgitic Mantle Associated with the Franklin Large Igneous Province

Document Type


Publication Date



The Kikiktat volcanics (new name) of the northeastern Brooks Range of Arctic Alaska are exceptionally well-preserved Neoproterozoic continental tholeiites. This volcanic suite includes high-temperature picritic compositions, making them an excellent probe of mantle composition and temperature underlying the northern margin of Laurentia during the breakup of Rodinia. Detrital zircons from a volcaniclastic sample directly overlying basaltic flows of the Kikiktat volcanics were dated at 719.47 ± 0.29 Ma by U-Pb chemical abrasion–thermal ionization mass spectrometry. This age suggests that the Kikiktat volcanics are an extension of the Franklin large igneous province. Petrogenetic modeling indicates a simple crystallization sequence of olivine → plagioclase → clinopyroxene, recording anhydrous low-pressure fractionation of a picritic parental melt. The composition of this parental liquid requires melting of harzburgite in the spinel stability field, while temperature estimates of the primary melt indicate elevated mantle potential temperatures. In contrast to the ca. 720 Ma Natkusiak basalts of Victoria Island, the Kikiktat volcanics have very low Ti concentrations, consistent with melting of harzburgitic mantle possibly by thermal conduction of an underlying plume. These data are consistent with Neoproterozoic to early Paleozoic tectonic reconstructions that restore the North Slope of Arctic Alaska to the northeastern margin of Laurentia and not directly adjacent to Victoria Island.