An olivine-free mantle lithology as a source for mantle-derived magmas: the role of metasomes in the Ethiopian-Arabian large igneous province.
Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Peridotite constitutes most of the Earth’s upper mantle, and it is therefore unsurprising that most mantle-derived magmas exhibit evidence of past equilibrium with olivine-dominated source. There is mounting evidence, however, for the role of pyroxenite in magma generation within upwelling mantle plumes; a less documented non-peridotite source of melts are metasomatic veins (metasomes) within the lithospheric mantle. Melts derived from metasomes may exhibit extreme enrichment or depletion in major and trace elements. We hypothesize that phenocrysts such as olivine, which are commonly used to probe basalt source lithology, will reflect these unusual geochemical signals. Here we present preliminary major and trace element analyses of 60 lavas erupted from a small Miocene shield volcano located within the Ethiopian flood basalt province. Erupted lavas are intercalated with lahars and pyroclastic horizons that are overlain by a later stage of activity manifested in small cinder cones and flows. The lavas form two distinctive petrographic and geochemical groups: (A) an olivine-phyric, low Ti group (1.7-2.7 wt. % TiO2; 4.0-13.6 wt. % MgO), which geochemically resembles most of the basalts in the region. These low Ti lavas are the only geochemical unit identified in the later cinder cones and associated lava flows. (B) a clinopyroxene-phyric high Ti group (1-6.7 wt. % TiO2; 1.0-9.5 wt. % MgO), which resembles the Oligocene HT-2 flood basalts. This unit is found intercalated with low Ti lavas within the Miocene shield. In comparison to the low Ti group, the high Ti lavas exhibit a profound depletion in Ni, Cr, Al, and Si, and significant enrichment in Ca, Fe, V, and the most incompatible trace elements. When combined with a diagnostic negative K anomaly in primitive-mantle normalized diagrams and Na2O>K2O, the geochemical data point towards a source which is rich in amphibole, devoid of olivine, and perhaps containing some carbonate. Our preliminary results have identified a large suite of primitive lavas derived from a nominally olivine-free mantle source. Consequently, our future work will examine olivine geochemical characteristics and constrain the compositional space for these unusual mantle lithologies.