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Publication - Dr George Cooper

    Plutonic xenoliths from Martinique, Lesser Antilles

    evidence for open system processes and reactive melt flow in island arc crust

    Citation

    Cooper, GF, Davidson, JP & Blundy, JD, 2016, ‘Plutonic xenoliths from Martinique, Lesser Antilles: evidence for open system processes and reactive melt flow in island arc crust’. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, vol 171.

    Abstract

    The Lesser Antilles Volcanic Arc is remarkable for the abundance and variety of erupted plutonic xenoliths. These samples provide a window into the deeper crust and record a more protracted crystallisation history than is observed from lavas alone. We present a detailed petrological and in situ geochemical study of xenoliths from Martinique in order to establish their petrogenesis, pre-eruptive storage conditions and their contribution to construction of the sub-volcanic arc crust. The lavas from Martinique are controlled by crystal–liquid differentiation. Amphibole is rarely present in the erupted lavas, but it is a very common component in plutonic xenoliths, allowing us to directly test the involvement of amphibole in the petrogenesis of arc magmas. The plutonic xenoliths provide both textural and geochemical evidence of open system processes and crystal ‘cargos’. All xenoliths are plagioclase-bearing, with variable proportions of olivine, spinel, clinopyroxene, orthopyroxene and amphibole, commonly with interstitial melt. In Martinique, the sequence of crystallisation varies in sample type and differs from other islands of the Lesser Antilles arc. The compositional offset between plagioclase (~An90) and olivine (~Fo75), suggests crystallisation under high water contents and low pressures from an already fractionated liquid. Texturally, amphibole is either equant (crystallising early in the sequence) or interstitial (crystallising late). Interstitial amphibole is enriched in Ba and LREE compared with early crystallised amphibole and does not follow typical fractionation trends. Modelling of melt compositions indicates that a water-rich, plagioclase-undersaturated reactive melt or fluid percolated through a crystal mush, accompanied by the breakdown of clinopyroxene, and the crystallisation of amphibole. Geothermobarometry estimates and comparisons with experimental studies imply the majority of xenoliths formed in the mid-crust. Martinique cumulate xenoliths are inferred to represent crystal mushes within an open system, through which melt can both percolate and be generated.

    Full details in the University publications repository