Infiltration of Refractory Melts into the Sub-Oceanic Mantle: Evidence from Major and Minor Element Compositions of Minerals from the 53° E Amagmatic Segment Abyssal Peridotites at the Southwest Indian Ridge

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Changgui Gao1,2, Henry J Dick2, Huaiyang Zhou3, Yang Liu1 and Jixin Wang1, (1)Tongji University, Shanghai, China, (2)WHOI, Woods Hole, MA, United States, (3)Tongji University, State Key Laboratory of Marine Geology, Shanghai, China
Elevated sodium and titanium in pyroxene and spinel with high TiO2 (> 0.2 wt%) are suggested as the geochemical characteristic for the MORB-like melt infiltration of peridotites. The petrological and geochemical results of melt infiltrating in mantle peridotites are controlled by not only the melt composition but also the melt/rock ratio. Large discordant dunite bodies in the mantle transition zone are the direct observation of large volume melt (high melt/rock ratio) infiltrating by channeled porous flow in the shallow mantle (1). In addition to dunites, melt infiltrating results in a large variety of vein lithologies in mantle, and the occurrence of plagioclases are considered as a petrological signal of melt-reaction at shallow depth (2, 3) with a medium melt/rock ratio. Because the lacking of obviously petrological and geochemical variation of peridotites, melt infiltration of peridotites with a low melt/rock ratio are rarely reported.

Peridotites in this study are from the 53° E amagmatic segment at the Southwest Indian Ridge. These peridotites are suggested as highly depleted buoyant mantle drawn up from the asthenosphere beneath southern Africa during the breakup of Gondwanaland (4) and are residues of multi-stage melt extracting in both spinel and garnet field. We present a detailed analysis of mineral compositions by both the EMPA and LA-ICPMS. Mineral phases in 53°E peridotites have mantle major element compositions, although minerals show variations with the crystal size and the location from cores to rims (Fig.1). In conjunction with the profile analysis of large clinopyroxene crystals, our results document the melt infiltration occurred at the ultraslow-spreading environment. At least two kinds of percolation melts are distinguished. They are normally MORB-like melt and ultra-depleted melt.


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2.J. M. Warren, N. Shimizu, Journal of Petrology 51, 395 (January 1, 2010).

3.E. Rampone, G. B. Piccardo, R. Vannucci, P. Bottazzi, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 61, 4557 (Nov, 1997).

4.H. Y. Zhou, H. J. B. Dick, Nature 494, 195 (2013).