Oxygen Fugacity Recorded by Xenoliths from Pacific Oceanic Islands
Abstract:Oxygen fugacity (fO2) plays a vital role in determining mineral stability and depth of melting in the mantle. Several studies have used the spinel peridotite oxybarometer to estimate fO2; yet few data exist from ocean islands, despite the importance of fO2 to understanding ocean island basalt petrogenesis (Herzberg and Asimow, 2008).
We report fO2 recorded by peridotite xenoliths from three ocean islands: Savai'i (average fO2 = QFM -1.4 to +0.9), Tahiti (QFM +0.6 to +0.7) and Tubuai (QFM -1.1 to +0.2). We calculate fO2 using methods and standards from Wood and Virgo (1989) and Wood (RiMG, 1990). Oxygen fugacities span a similar range to those reported for El Hierro, Oahu, and Tahiti by Ballhaus (1993): more reduced than arc peridotites, but more oxidized than abyssal peridotites. Spinels in several of the xenoliths are heterogeneous and record a range of apparent fO2 at the mm scale. We propose two distinct mechanisms for introducing fO2 heterogeneity: melt refertilization (Tubuai) and diffusive reequilibration (Savai’i and Tubuai).
Spinels in one Tubuai sample record increasing fO2 from QFM-0.6 in the xenolith interior to +1.1 at the basalt interface. Apparent fO2 recorded by these spinels correlate with TiO2, an indicator of melt refertilization (Pearce et al., 2000). We suggest that spinels from the xenolith interior record the relatively low fO2 conditions of the lithospheric mantle, while host basalt has oxidized near-interface spinels. Uniformly high TiO2, fO2, and low olivine Mg# in Tahitian xenoliths from this study may indicate that refertilization has reset the fO2 recorded by these rocks.
Closed-system diffusive reequilibration, caused by changes in temperature, can also change the fO2 recorded by a peridotite. In samples from Savai'i and Tubuai with multiple spinel habits, fine intergrowth spinels and the rims of large, equant spinels record higher apparent fO2 and lower Al2O3 than cores of large grains. Canil and O'Neill (1996) suggest that the MgAl2O4 component in spinel dissolves into pyroxenes as a function of increasing temperature, leaving a lower modal proportion of Fe3+-rich spinel. Because we find no evidence for melt refertilization, we suggest that thermal interaction with a plume caused subsolidus, partial reequilibration that increased the fO2 recorded by these peridotites prior to eruption.