Subcalcic clinopyroxenites and associated ultramafic xenoliths in alkali basalt near Glen Innes, northeastern New South Wales, Australia
Wilkinson, JFG and Stolz, AJ, Subcalcic clinopyroxenites and associated ultramafic xenoliths in alkali basalt near Glen Innes, northeastern New South Wales, Australia, Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 127, (3) pp. 272-290. ISSN 0010-7999 (1997) [Refereed Article]
An alkali basalt near Glen Inns, northeastern New South Wales, contains a suite of Cr-diopside group ultramafic xenoliths which includes some spinel peridotites but which is dominated by a diverse spinel pyroxenite assemblage. Pyroxenite xenoliths range from subcalcic clinopyroxenites (composed largely of unmixed prismatic subcalcic clinopyroxene megacrystals and lesser orthopyroxene megacrystals) to equant mosaic textured websterites (orthopyroxene and Ca-rich clinopyroxene ±ispinel). Rare orthopyroxenite xenoliths also occur. The pyroxenite xenoliths are characterised by high 100Mg/(Mg + Fe2+) ratios (M∼ 90) and low concentrations of Ti, K, P, La, Ce and Zr. The websterites are mineralogically and chemically similar to many spinel pyroxenites occurring as layers or dykes in peridotite massifs such as those at Ronda in southern Spain and at Ariège (French Pyŕnées). T/P estimates indicate crystallization temperatures of 1250-1350 °C for subcalcic clinopyroxene-orthopyroxene megacrystal pairs and 900-1000 °C for the equilibrated mosaic textured websterites and associated peridotites at pressures of 9-13 kbar. Subcalcic clinopyroxene megacrystals, websterites and orthopyroxenites have LREE-depleted chondrite-normalised REE abundances with (La/Yb)CN < 1 and their convex-upwards REE patterns are typical of subcalcic clinopyroxene-dominated cumulates. The pyroxenites are not residua from partially melted pyroxenite layers or dykes in mantle peridotites nor are they completely crystallized protobasaltic or protopicritic magmas. They are interpreted as high-pressure crystal segregations from basaltic magmas (probably mildly alkaline or transitional) flowing within narrow mantle conduits (the flow crystallization model of Irving, 1980). The parental magma(s) was Ti-poor (0.6-0.7% TiO2) and relatively Mg-rich (M ∼ 74-70). Pyroxenite genesis was a two-stage process involving crystallization of tschermakitic subcalcic clinopyroxenes and orthopyroxenes ispinel as liquidus or near-liquidus phases at 1250-1350 °C and 9-13 kbar to yield "primary" subcalcic clinopyroxenites which then re-equilibrated at 900-1000 °C and similar pressures to produce the mosaic textured "secondary" websterites. The pyroxenites show a wide range of 143Nd/144Nd and 87Sr/86Sr values (0.513298-0.512473 and 0.702689-0.704659, respectively). Their isotopic ratios appear to have been variably modified by exchange with adjacent nantie peridotites or migrating basaltic melts.