The mantle sequence of the ~492 Ma Shetland Ophiolite Complex (SOC; Scotland) contains abundant compositionally heterogeneous podiform chromitite bodies enclosed in elongate dunite lenses in the vicinity of the petrological Moho. Chromitite petrogenesis and late-stage alteration events recorded in these seams are examined here using petrography, mineral chemistry and crystal structural data. The resistant nature of Cr-spinel to serpentinisation and other late-stage alteration means that primary igneous compositions are preserved in unaltered crystal cores. Chromitite mineralogy and texture from five sampled localities at The Viels, Hagdale, Harold's Grave, Nikka Vord and Cliff reveal significant inter-pod chemical heterogeneity. The Cr-spinel mineral chemistry is consistent with supra-subduction zone melt extraction from the SOC peridotites. The occurrence of chromitite seams in the centres of the dunite lenses combined with variable Cr-spinel compositions at different chromitite seam localities supports a model of chromitite formation from spatially (and temporally?) fluctuating amounts of melt–rock interaction through channelised and/or porous melt flow. Pervasive serpentinisation of the SOC has led to the almost complete replacement of the primary (mantle) silicate mineral assemblages with serpentine (lizardite with minor chrysotile and antigorite). Magmatic sulphide (e.g., pentlandite) in dunite and chromitite is locally converted to reduced Ni-sulphide varieties (e.g., heazlewoodite and millerite). A post-serpentinisation (prograde) oxidisation event is recorded in the extensively altered Cliff chromitite seams in the west of the studied area, where chromitite Cr-spinel is extensively altered to ferritchromit. The ferritchromit may comprise >50% of the volume of the Cliff Cr-spinels and contain appreciable quantities of 1–2 μm inclusions of sperrylite (PtAs2) and Ni-arsenide, signifying the coeval formation of these minerals with ferritchromit at temperatures of up to ~500 °C. The SOC chromitite Cr-spinels thus not only preserve key insights into the complex melting processes occurring in the upper mantle wedge but can also be utilised to construct a comprehensive alteration history of the lower mantle portions of such supra-subduction zone ophiolites.

Compositionally heterogeneous podiform chromitite in the Shetland Ophiolite Complex (Scotland): implications for chromitite petrogenesis and late stage alteration in the upper mantle portion of a supra-subduction zone ophiolite

LENAZ, DAVIDE;
2013-01-01

Abstract

The mantle sequence of the ~492 Ma Shetland Ophiolite Complex (SOC; Scotland) contains abundant compositionally heterogeneous podiform chromitite bodies enclosed in elongate dunite lenses in the vicinity of the petrological Moho. Chromitite petrogenesis and late-stage alteration events recorded in these seams are examined here using petrography, mineral chemistry and crystal structural data. The resistant nature of Cr-spinel to serpentinisation and other late-stage alteration means that primary igneous compositions are preserved in unaltered crystal cores. Chromitite mineralogy and texture from five sampled localities at The Viels, Hagdale, Harold's Grave, Nikka Vord and Cliff reveal significant inter-pod chemical heterogeneity. The Cr-spinel mineral chemistry is consistent with supra-subduction zone melt extraction from the SOC peridotites. The occurrence of chromitite seams in the centres of the dunite lenses combined with variable Cr-spinel compositions at different chromitite seam localities supports a model of chromitite formation from spatially (and temporally?) fluctuating amounts of melt–rock interaction through channelised and/or porous melt flow. Pervasive serpentinisation of the SOC has led to the almost complete replacement of the primary (mantle) silicate mineral assemblages with serpentine (lizardite with minor chrysotile and antigorite). Magmatic sulphide (e.g., pentlandite) in dunite and chromitite is locally converted to reduced Ni-sulphide varieties (e.g., heazlewoodite and millerite). A post-serpentinisation (prograde) oxidisation event is recorded in the extensively altered Cliff chromitite seams in the west of the studied area, where chromitite Cr-spinel is extensively altered to ferritchromit. The ferritchromit may comprise >50% of the volume of the Cliff Cr-spinels and contain appreciable quantities of 1–2 μm inclusions of sperrylite (PtAs2) and Ni-arsenide, signifying the coeval formation of these minerals with ferritchromit at temperatures of up to ~500 °C. The SOC chromitite Cr-spinels thus not only preserve key insights into the complex melting processes occurring in the upper mantle wedge but can also be utilised to construct a comprehensive alteration history of the lower mantle portions of such supra-subduction zone ophiolites.
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
2013 Derbyshire et al Shetland ophiolite Lithos.pdf

Accesso chiuso

Descrizione: articolo editoriale
Tipologia: Documento in Versione Editoriale
Licenza: Digital Rights Management non definito
Dimensione 4.44 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
4.44 MB Adobe PDF   Visualizza/Apri   Richiedi una copia
Pubblicazioni consigliate

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/2630635
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 61
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 58
social impact