The Record of Magma Accumulation Processes and Magma-Crust Interactions in Arcs from Ultramafic Intrusions with Ni-Cu-PGE Mineralization
Thursday, 17 December 2015: 08:15
308 (Moscone South)
Ultramafic arc plutons, key tracers of subduction zone magmatism, are present as Alaskan-type intrusions (no orthopyroxene) and a wide range of mineralogically diverse (ol-opx-cpx-hbl) intrusions. Turnagain (Alaskan-type) and Giant Mascot (opx-rich) are two Mesozoic mid-crustal ultramafic bodies in the Cordillera of British Columbia. They preserve lithologic, trace element, and isotopic records of magmatic evolution and crustal assimilation during the earliest stages of fractionation from mantle wedge-derived magmas. These processes are highlighted by sulfide saturation mechanisms in their respective oxidized parent magmas and the formation of significant magmatic Ni-Cu-PGE mineralization at Turnagain (1841.8 Mt at 0.21% Ni) and Giant Mascot (4.2 Mt at 0.77% Ni and 0.34% Cu). The intrusions represent mid-crustal magma conduits through which magmas laden with Mg-rich olivine and pyroxene ascended, stalled, fractionated, locally assimilated fusible pyrite- and graphite-bearing metasedimentary rocks, and ultimately left their crystal cargos as cumulates. Their extrusive components are picritic to ankaramitic basalts. The combined effects of fractional crystallization, sulfide melt segregation, and re-equilibration with sulfide melt are recorded by notable Ni-in-olivine variations. At Turnagain, there is a direct correlation between the presence of sulfide and partially digested phyllite blocks, which is reflected in a broad range of relatively light S isotope ratios. This contrasts with restricted near-mantle S isotope values from the steeply plunging Ni-sulfide pipes at Giant Mascot where sulfide saturation occurred in response to assimilation of host granitoids and schists. Many other similar Paleozoic to Mesozoic ultramafic intrusions in the North American Cordillera, extending from Alaska to Baja, also represent former magma pathways that potentially capture the record of arc growth through magmatic and mineralization processes from primitive arc magmas.