Abyssal tholeiites from the Oceanographer Fracture Zone - I. Petrology and fractionation

Tsugio Shibata, Stephen E. DeLong, David Walker

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52 Citations (Scopus)


Fresh basalts from the Oceanographer Fracture Zone are petrographically and chemically similar to typical abyssal tholeiites, but are somewhat enriched in large ion lithophile elements, with consistent differences among separate dredge hauls. Olivine compositions are in equilibrium with host basalt for reasonable KDvalues, but some plagioclases are anomalously calcic (e.g., a rock highly differentiated in Mg/Mg+Fe bears some plagioclase of An86). Ti/Al in clinopyroxene is approximately constant at 1/6, but Ti+Al abundance decreases in the sequence basalt groundmass cpx, basalt phenocryst+microphenocryst cpx, gabbro cpx (samples from adjacent dredges), an effect that may be related to decrease in cooling rate. Least-squares calculations indicate that 45% of magma with the composition of the more primitive sample must be removed as plagioclase, clinopyroxene and olivine (in the ratio 4.4:2.7:1, respectively) to obtain the composition of the more differentiated sample. Both samples have excess plagioclase on the liquidus, however, which should not be the case for the differentiated composition if it is produced by fractionation of all three phases. The excess of plagioclase and the anomalous plagioclase compositions indicate that the samples cannot be related solely by fractional crystallization. Additional processes such as magma mixing or plagioclase accumulation (or both) must have effected these differences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-102
Number of pages14
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 1979

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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