Geochemistry and petrology of andesites from the north rift zone of Axial Seamount, Juan de Fuca Ridge

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Iliya N Smithka1, Michael R Perfit1, David A Clague2 and V. Dorsey Wanless3, (1)University of Florida, Department of Geological Sciences, Ft Walton Beach, FL, United States, (2)Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Watsonville, CA, United States, (3)Boise State University, Dept. of Geosciences, Boise, ID, United States
In 2013, the ROV Doc Ricketts onboard R/V Western Flyer explored ~4 km of an elongate pillow ridge up to ~300 m high along the eastern edge of the north rift zone of Axial Seamount. The steep-sided volcanic ridge is constructed of large pillow lavas up to 2-3 m in diameter and smaller elongated pillow tubes. Of the 27 samples collected during dive D526, all but one are andesites making it one of the largest confirmed high-silica exposures along a mid-ocean ridge (MOR). Based on radiocarbon ages of sediment on top of flows, the mounds are at least ~1390 years old. This minimum age is much younger than the 56 Ka age calculated based on distance from the rift axis, indicating eruption off-axis through older, colder crust and supporting the hypothesis and model calculations that extensive fractional crystallization (>85%) caused the high silica content.

The andesitic lavas are primarily glassy, highly vesicular, crusty, and sparsely phyric with small (~1 mm) plagioclase crystals and olivine, clinopyroxene, and Fe-Ti oxide microphenocrysts. Microprobe analyses of glasses are similar to wax-core samples previously collected from this area but are more compositionally variable. Excluding one basalt (7.7 wt% MgO) sampled between mounds, the lavas are basaltic andesites and andesites (53-59 wt% SiO2) with <3 wt% MgO and 12.8-15.7 wt% FeO concentrations. Incompatible trace element abundances are ~4-6 times more enriched than in Axial Seamount T-MORB. Primitive mantle-normalized patterns are similar to those of high-silica lavas from other MORs (southern Juan de Fuca Ridge, 9N East Pacific Rise) with significant positive U anomalies, large negative Sr anomalies, small negative Eu anomalies, and slight positive Zr-Hf anomalies. The andesites are more enriched in light rare earth elements than basalts from Axial Seamount ((La/Yb)N 1.35-1.4 vs. 0.7-1.27) and N-MORB from the southern Juan de Fuca Ridge. The andesites also have high Cl (~0.3-0.6 wt%) and H2O (~1.60-1.71 wt%) contents; common features of other high-silica MOR suites and indicative that some assimilation of altered crust was involved in their petrogenesis.