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The origin of shoshonites: new insights from the Tertiary high-potassium intrusions of eastern Tibet


Campbell, IH and Stepanov, AS and Liang, H-Y and Allen, CM and Norman, MD and Zhang, Y-Q and Xie, Y-W, The origin of shoshonites: new insights from the Tertiary high-potassium intrusions of eastern Tibet, Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 167, (3) Article 983. ISSN 0010-7999 (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg

DOI: doi:10.1007/s00410-014-0983-9


The shoshonitic intrusions of eastern Tibet, which range in age from 33 to 41 Ma and in composition from ultramafic (SiO2 = 42 %) to felsic (SiO2 = 74 %), were produced during the collision of India with Eurasia. The mafic and ultramafic members of the suite are characterized by phenocrysts of phlogopite, olivine and clinopyroxene, low SiO2, high MgO and Mg/Fe ratios, and olivine forsterite contents of Fo87 to Fo93, indicative of equilibrium with mantle olivine and orthopyroxene. Direct melting of the mantle, on the other hand, could not have produced the felsic members. They have a phenocryst assemblage of plagioclase, amphibole and quartz, high SiO2 and low MgO, with Mg/Fe ratios well below the values expected for a melt in equilibrium with the mantle. Furthermore, the lack of decrease in Cr with increasing SiO2 and decreasing MgO from ultramafic to felsic rocks precludes the possibility that the felsic members were derived by fractional crystallization from the mafic members. Similarly, magma mixing, crustal contamination and crystal accumulation can be excluded as important processes. Yet all members of the suite share similar incompatible element and radiogenic isotope ratios, which suggests a common origin and source. We propose that melting for all members of the shoshonite suite was initiated in continental crust that was thrust into the upper mantle at various points along the transpressional Red River-Ailao Shan-Batang-Lijiang fault system. The melt formed by high-degree, fluid-absent melting reactions at high-T and high-P and at the expense of biotite and phengite. The melts acquired their high concentrations of incompatible elements as a consequence of the complete dissolution of pre-existing accessory minerals. The melts produced were quartz-saturated and reacted with the overlying mantle to produce garnet and pyroxene during their ascent. The felsic magmas reacted little with the adjacent mantle and preserved the essential features of their original chemistry, including their high SiO2, low Ni, Cr and MgO contents, and low Mg/Fe ratio, whereas the mafic and ultramafic magmas are the result of extensive reaction with the mantle. Although the mafic magmas preserved the incompatible element and radiogenic isotope ratios of their crustal source, buffering by olivine and orthopyroxene extensively modified their MgO, Ni, Cr, SiO2 contents and Mg/Fe ratio to values dictated by equilibrium with the mantle.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:shoshonite, high-potassium magmas, highpotassium intrusions, Eastern Tibet, Red River-Ailao Shan-Batang-Lijiang fault system
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Geology
Research Field:Igneous and metamorphic petrology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences
UTAS Author:Stepanov, AS (Mr Sasha Stepanov)
ID Code:94709
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:137
Deposited By:Centre for Ore Deposit Research - CODES CoE
Deposited On:2014-09-16
Last Modified:2017-11-02

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