The formation of SiO2-rich melts within the deep oceanic crust by hydrous partial melting of gabbros
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Koepke, J and Berndt, J and Feig, ST and Holtz, F, The formation of SiO2-rich melts within the deep oceanic crust by hydrous partial melting of gabbros, Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 153, (1) pp. 67-84. ISSN 0010-7999 (2007) [Refereed Article]
Copyright 2006 Springer-Verlag
Small amounts of felsic, evolved plutonic rocks, often called oceanic plagiogranites, always occur as veins or small stocks within the gabbroic section of the oceanic crust. Four major models are under debate to explain the formation of these rocks: (1) late-stage differentiation of a parental MORB melt, (2) partial melting of gabbroic rocks, (3) immiscibility in an evolved tholeiitic liquid, and (4) assimilation and partial melting of previously altered dikes. Recent experimental data in hydrous MORB-type systems are used to evaluate the petrogenesis of oceanic plagiogranites within the deep oceanic crust. Experiments show that TiO2 is a key parameter for the discrimination between different processes: TiO2 is relatively low in melts generated by anatexis of gabbros which is a consequence of the low TiO2 contents of the protolith, due to the depleted nature of typical cumulate gabbros formed in the oceanic crust. On the other hand, TiO2 is relatively high in those melts generated by MORB differentiation or liquid immiscibility. Since the TiO2 content of many oceanic plagiogranites is far below that expected in case of a generation by simple MORB differentiation or immiscibility, these rocks may be regarded as products of anatexis. This may indicate that partial melting processes triggered by water-rich fluids are more common in the deep oceanic crust than believed up to now. At slow-spreading ridges, seawater may be transported via high-temperature shear zones deeply into the crust and thus made available for melting processes. © Springer-Verlag 2006.
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