Back-arc basins

  • Marjorie Wilson


Back-arc or marginal basins are semi-isolated basins or series of basins lying behind the volcanic chains of island-arc systems (Karig 1971). It is generally accepted that these are extensional features produced by seafloor spreading type processes broadly similar to those occurring at mid-oceanic ridges (Ch. 5; see also Saunders & Tarney 1979, 1984; Crawford et al. 1981; Taylor & Karner 1983; Jarrard 1986). An extensional origin is supported by the high heat flow characteristic of such basins (Sclater et al 1972, Hawkins 1974) and by the occurrence of sets of magnetic lineations similar to those observed in normal oceanic crust. These were first described from the East Scotia Sea, an active back-arc basin behind the South Sandwich island arc in the South Atlantic (Barker 1972), and have subsequently been documented from the Lau, Mariana, south Fiji and west Philippine basins. Taylor & Karner (1983) have listed all known Neogene back-arc basins and compared their characteristics to those of normal oceanic spreading centres.


Bonin Island West Philippine Basin Boninite Series Magma Generation Process Typical Tholeiitic Basalt 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Further reading

  1. Crawford, A. J., L. Beccaluva G. Serri 1981. Tectono-magmatic evolution of the west Philippine — Mariana region and the origin of boninites. Earth Planet Sci. Lett. 54, 346–56.Google Scholar
  2. Hickey, R. L.& F. A. Frey 1982. Geochemical characteristics of boninite series volcanics: implications for their source. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 46, 2099–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Karig, D. E. 1971. Origin and development of marginal basins in the western Pacific. 1. Geophys. Res. 76, 2542–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Saunders, A. D.& J. Tarney 1979. The geochemistry of basalts from a back-arc spreading centre in the East Scotia Sea. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 43, 555–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Taylor, B & G. D. Karner 1983. On the evolution of marginal basins. Rev. Geophys. 21, 1727–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marjorie Wilson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK

Personalised recommendations