Document Type


Publication Date



Earth Sciences



Publication Title

Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems


The Talamanca Cordillera in the Central America Arc (Costa Rica‐Panama) preserves the record of the geochemical evolution from an intraoceanic arc to a juvenile continental arc in an active subduction zone, making it a testbed to explore processes that resulted in juvenile continental crust formation and explore potential mechanisms of early continental crust generation. Here we present a comprehensive set of geochronological, geochemical, and petrological data from the Talamanca Cordillera that tracks the key turning point (12–8 Ma) from the evolution of an oceanic arc depleted in incompatible elements to a juvenile continent. Most plutonic rocks from this transition and postintrusive rocks share striking similarities with average upper continental crust and Archean tonalite, trondhjemite, and granodiorite. We complement these data with seismic studies across the arc. Seismic velocities within the Caribbean Plate (basement of the arc) show a relatively uniform lateral structure consistent with a thick mafic large igneous province. Comparisons of seismic velocity profiles in the middle and lower crust beneath the active arc and remnant Miocene arc suggest a transition toward more felsic compositions as the volcanic center migrated toward the location of the modern arc. Seismic velocities along the modern arc in Costa Rica compared with other active arcs and average continental crust suggest an intermediate composition beneath the active arc in Costa Rica closer to average crust. Our geochemical modeling and radiogenic isotopes systematics suggest that input components from melting of the subducting Galapagos hotspot tracks are required for this compositional change.


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