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Petrogenesis of Archaean ultrabasic and basic volcanics: Evidence from rare earth elements

Petrogenesis of Archaean ultrabasic and basic volcanics: Evidence from rare earth elements
Petrogenesis of Archaean ultrabasic and basic volcanics: Evidence from rare earth elements
Rare earth element (REE) and major element data are presented on 44 Archaean samples which include spinifex textured ultramagnesian lavas (STPK) spinifex textured basalts (STB) and low MgO tholeiites. The samples come from the Yilgarn and Pilbara Blocks (W. Australia), Barberton (South Africa), Belingwe and Que Que (Rhodesia), Abitibi (Canada) and the 3.7 b.y. Isua Belt of Western Greenland. In addition REE data are given on three near primitive mid-ocean ridge basalts (MORB) and a glassy MORB-type basalt from Taiwan. We suggest that REE patterns, particularly the light REE and Eu, can be affected by metamorphism, but argue that the consistency of pattern from samples both within and between areas enables recognition of primary patterns. La/Sm ratios of 2.7 b.y. STPK are characterised by being lower than those of associated basalts. The 3.5 b.y. STPK Barberton material does not show this feature but instead displays significant heavy REE depletion. The separation of garnet from these liquids is suggested as a possible mechanism for the high CaO/Al2O3 ratios, (Al loss) and the heavy REE and Sc depletion. The REE data on Barberton material is equivocal on the derivation of the so-called basaltic komatiites from the peridotitic komatiites. However, REE analyses on STPK and high magnesian lavas from elsewhere suggests that crystal fractionation is not a viable mechanism to produce one from the other. We suggest instead, that varying amounts of partial melting of different sources is responsible for the spectrum of compositions. The STB appear to be an easily recognised rock type within the Archaean. They are characterised by quench (clinopyroxene) textures and a light REE enriched pattern. It is suggested that these are near primary melts and that their REE patterns mirror their mantle source. We propose a two stage model for the 2.7 b.y. mafic complexes, in which, prior to the generation of ultrabasic magmas, the source underwent a small amount of partial melting which resulted in the removal of a melt enriched in incompatible elements. The depletion process could be achieved either during mantle diapirism or by upward migration of interstitial melts into an Archaean low velocity zone. The spread of La/Sm ratios in STPK and STB is used as an argument that the Archaean mantle was chemically heterogeneous and that the degree of heterogeneity was similar to that observed in modern ocean volcanics. As a result, partial melting of the mantle under different P-T conditions produced a spectrum of magma types. The information presently available on Archaean mafic and silicic magmatism and the incompleteness of geochemical data on present day tectonic environments are two major obstacles in formulating Archaean tectonic models. In addition a comparison of present day and Archaean ultramafic and silicic rocks suggests that plate tectonic models as presently understood may not be suitable analogues for all Archaean tectonic environments.
0010-7999
301-325
Sun, Shen-Su
d5b232c6-4b9b-419c-833c-b7e05d97ec1e
Nesbitt, Robert W.
6a124ad1-4e6d-4407-b92f-592f7fd682e4
Sun, Shen-Su
d5b232c6-4b9b-419c-833c-b7e05d97ec1e
Nesbitt, Robert W.
6a124ad1-4e6d-4407-b92f-592f7fd682e4

Sun, Shen-Su and Nesbitt, Robert W. (1978) Petrogenesis of Archaean ultrabasic and basic volcanics: Evidence from rare earth elements. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 65 (3), 301-325. (doi:10.1007/BF00375516).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Rare earth element (REE) and major element data are presented on 44 Archaean samples which include spinifex textured ultramagnesian lavas (STPK) spinifex textured basalts (STB) and low MgO tholeiites. The samples come from the Yilgarn and Pilbara Blocks (W. Australia), Barberton (South Africa), Belingwe and Que Que (Rhodesia), Abitibi (Canada) and the 3.7 b.y. Isua Belt of Western Greenland. In addition REE data are given on three near primitive mid-ocean ridge basalts (MORB) and a glassy MORB-type basalt from Taiwan. We suggest that REE patterns, particularly the light REE and Eu, can be affected by metamorphism, but argue that the consistency of pattern from samples both within and between areas enables recognition of primary patterns. La/Sm ratios of 2.7 b.y. STPK are characterised by being lower than those of associated basalts. The 3.5 b.y. STPK Barberton material does not show this feature but instead displays significant heavy REE depletion. The separation of garnet from these liquids is suggested as a possible mechanism for the high CaO/Al2O3 ratios, (Al loss) and the heavy REE and Sc depletion. The REE data on Barberton material is equivocal on the derivation of the so-called basaltic komatiites from the peridotitic komatiites. However, REE analyses on STPK and high magnesian lavas from elsewhere suggests that crystal fractionation is not a viable mechanism to produce one from the other. We suggest instead, that varying amounts of partial melting of different sources is responsible for the spectrum of compositions. The STB appear to be an easily recognised rock type within the Archaean. They are characterised by quench (clinopyroxene) textures and a light REE enriched pattern. It is suggested that these are near primary melts and that their REE patterns mirror their mantle source. We propose a two stage model for the 2.7 b.y. mafic complexes, in which, prior to the generation of ultrabasic magmas, the source underwent a small amount of partial melting which resulted in the removal of a melt enriched in incompatible elements. The depletion process could be achieved either during mantle diapirism or by upward migration of interstitial melts into an Archaean low velocity zone. The spread of La/Sm ratios in STPK and STB is used as an argument that the Archaean mantle was chemically heterogeneous and that the degree of heterogeneity was similar to that observed in modern ocean volcanics. As a result, partial melting of the mantle under different P-T conditions produced a spectrum of magma types. The information presently available on Archaean mafic and silicic magmatism and the incompleteness of geochemical data on present day tectonic environments are two major obstacles in formulating Archaean tectonic models. In addition a comparison of present day and Archaean ultramafic and silicic rocks suggests that plate tectonic models as presently understood may not be suitable analogues for all Archaean tectonic environments.

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Published date: February 1978
Organisations: Geochemistry

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Local EPrints ID: 361804
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/361804
ISSN: 0010-7999
PURE UUID: 5bf65146-f2b0-475a-bec8-6950b0db8557

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Date deposited: 03 Feb 2014 13:59
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 02:58

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Author: Shen-Su Sun
Author: Robert W. Nesbitt

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