Age and MORB geochemistry of the Sabah ophiolite basement

Author : John E. Graves, Charles S. Hutchison, Steven C. Bergman and David A. Swauger
Publication : Bulletin of the Geological Society of Malaysia
Page : 151-158
Volume Number : 44
Year : 2000

Bulletin of the Geological Society of Malaysia, Volume 44, July 2000, pp. 151 – 158


Age and MORB geochemistry of the Sabah ophiolite basement

1John E. Graves, 2Charles S. Hutchison, 1Steven C. Bergman and 1David A. Swauger

1Arco International Oil & Gas Company and ARCO Exploration & Production Technology, 2300 W. Plano Pkwy., Plano, Texas 75075, U.S.A.

2Retired Professor of Applied Geology, University of Malaya, 10 Lorong 5/19A, 46000 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia


Abstract: A late Jurassic to early Cretaceous (Neocomian) age is most likely for the ophiolite basement of Sabah, consistent with the Barremian-Aptian age of the overlying ribbon cherts. Attempts at dating have been confined to the K:Ar method, unfortunately unsuited to this rock suite because of its low potassium and high atmospheric argon contents. Our data confirm the need for interpreting part of the extensive ophiolite terrane of the Segama Highlands as consisting of continental lithosphere of Jurassic age – only limited exposures of calc-alkaline granite are known in the Litog Klikog Kiri vicinity of Ulu Segama. The ophiolite suite of the Labuk and Segama Highlands is of low-K tholeiitic affinity and the trace element geochemistry indicates MORB characteristics, typical of magma formation at a mid ocean ridge spreading centre. Before uplift, the Sabah ophiolitic basement may be interpreted as having formed an integral part of either the western Pacific or the eastern Indian Ocean, extant beneath sea level in the Argo Abyssal Plain west of Australia.