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Experimental derivation of nepheline syenite and phonolite liquids by partial melting of upper mantle peridotites

Laporte, Didier, Lambart, Sarah, Schiano, Pierre and Ottolini, Luisa 2014. Experimental derivation of nepheline syenite and phonolite liquids by partial melting of upper mantle peridotites. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 404 , pp. 319-331. 10.1016/j.epsl.2014.08.002

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Piston-cylinder experiments were performed to characterize the composition of liquids formed at very low degrees of melting of two fertile lherzolite compositions with 430 ppm and 910 ppm K2O at 1 and 1.3 GPa. We used the microdike technique (Laporte et al., 2004) to extract the liquid phase from the partially molten peridotite, allowing us to analyze liquid compositions at degrees of melting F down to 0.9%. At 1.3 GPa, the liquid is in equilibrium with olivine + orthopyroxene + clinopyroxene + spinel in all the experiments; at 1 GPa, plagioclase is present in addition to these four mineral phases up to about 5% of melting (View the MathML sourceT≈1240°C). Important variations of liquid compositions are observed with decreasing temperature, including strong increases in SiO2, Na2O, K2O, and Al2O3 concentrations, and decreases in MgO, FeO, and CaO concentrations. The most extreme liquid compositions are phonolites with 57% SiO2, 20–22% Al2O3, Na2O + K2O up to 14%, and concentrations of MgO, FeO, and CaO as low as 2–3%. Reversal experiments confirm that low-degree melts of a fertile lherzolite have phonolitic compositions, and pMELTS calculations show that the amount of phonolite liquid generated at 1.2 GPa increases from 0.3% in a source with 100 ppm K2O to 3% in a source with 2000 ppm K2O. The enrichment in silica and alkalis with decreasing melt fraction is coupled with an increase of the degree of melt polymerization, which has important consequences for the partitioning of minor and trace elements. Thus Ti4+ in our experiments and, by analogy with Ti4+, other highly charged cations, and rare earth elements become less incompatible near the peridotite solidus. Our study brings a strong support to the hypothesis that phonolitic lavas or their plutonic equivalents (nepheline syenites) may be produced directly by partial melting of upper mantle rock-types at moderate pressures (1–1.5 GPa), especially where large domains of the subcontinental lithospheric mantle has been enriched in potassium by metasomatism. The circulation of low-degree partial melts of peridotites into the upper mantle may be responsible for a special kind of metasomatism characterized by Si- and alkali-enrichment. When they are unable to escape by porous flow, low-degree melts will ultimately be trapped inside neighboring olivine grains and give rise to the silica- and alkali-rich glass inclusions found in peridotite xenoliths.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Uncontrolled Keywords: upper mantle; lherzolite; partial melting; phonolite; mantle metasomatism; potassium
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0012-821X
Date of Acceptance: 4 August 2014
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2019 03:25

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