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