Alkalic Basalt in Ridge Axis of 53˚E Amagmatic Segment Center, Southwest Indian Ridge

Friday, 19 December 2014
Huaiyang Zhou1, Jixin Wang1, Yang Liu1, Fuwu Ji1 and Henry J Dick2, (1)Tongji University, State Key Laboratory of Marine Geology, Shanghai, China, (2)WHOI, Woods Hole, MA, United States
Mid-ocean ridge basalt (MORB) is key tracer of composition and process in the mantle. It is interesting to notice that some alkalic basalts occur in amagmatic spreading center of ultraslow spreading ridges, for examples, 9-16˚E of the Southwest Indian ridge (Standish et al., 2008) and Lena Trough of Arctic Ocean (Snow et al., 2011). The latter is interpreted as the result of the pre-existence of continental transform fault or the especially cold thermal structure of ancient continental lithosphere.

53˚E segment, east of the Gallieni transform fault, was discovered as an amagmatic segment (Zhou and Dick, 2013). On both sides of the ridge axis, peridotites with a little gabbro are exposed in an area more than 3200 km2. Basalts exist in the southern portion of 53˚E segment, indicating the transformation from magmatic to amagmatic spreading about 9.4 million years ago.

In April of 2014, Leg 4 of the RV Dayang Yihao cruise 30, basaltic glasses was dredged at one location (3500 m water depth) in the ridge axis of 53˚E segment center. It is shown by electric probe analysis that the samples have extremely high sodium content (4.0-4.49 wt% Na­2O ), relative higher potassium content (0.27-0.32 wt% K2O) and silica (50.67-51.87 wt% SiO2), and lower MgO content (5.9-6.4 wt% MgO). Mg-number is 0.55-0.59. It is distinctly different from the N-MORB (2.42-2.68 wt% Na2O, 0.03-0.06 wt% K2O, 48.6-49.6 wt% Si2O, 8.8-9.0 wt% MgO, Mg-numbers 0.63) distributed in the 560-km-long supersegment, west of the Gallieni transform fault, where the active Dragon Flag hydrothermal field was discovered at 49.6˚E in 2007. The reasons for the alkalic basalt in the ridge axis of 53˚E amagmatic segment center, either by low melting degree of garnet stability field, by melting from an ancient subcontinental lithospheric mantle, or by sodium-metasomatism or even other mantle processes or their combination in the deep mantle, are under further studies.