Original paper

Super-reduced mineral assemblages in "ophiolitic" chromitites and peridotites: the view from Mount Carmel

Xiong, Qing; Griffin, William L.; Huang, Jin-Xiang; Gain, Sarah E.M.; Toledo, Vered; Pearson, Norman J.; O'Reilly, Suzanne Y.

European Journal of Mineralogy Volume 29 Number 4 (2017), p. 557 - 570

published: Sep 1, 2017

DOI: 10.1127/ejm/2017/0029-2646

BibTeX file

ArtNo. ESP147052904003, Price: 29.00 €

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Abstract

Ultrahigh-pressure (UHP) materials (e.g., diamond, high-pressure polymorph of chromite) and super-reduced (SuR) phases (e.g., carbides, nitrides, silicides and native metals) have been identified in chromitites and peridotites of the Tibetan and PolarUrals ophiolites. These unusual assemblages suggest previously unrecognized fluid- or melt-related processes in the Earth's mantle. However, the origin of the SuR phases, and in particular their relationships with the UHP materials in the ophiolites, are still enigmatic. Studies of a recently recognized SuR mineral system from Cretaceous volcanics on Mt Carmel, Israel, suggest an alternative genesis for the ophiolitic SuR phases. The Mt Carmel SuR mineral system (associated with Ti-rich corundum xenocrysts) appears to reflect the local interaction of mantle-derived CH4 ± H2 fluids with basaltic magmas in the shallow lithosphere (depths of ~30– 100 km). These interactions produced desilication of the magma, supersaturation in Al2 O3 leading to rapid growth of corundum, and phase assemblages requiring local oxygen fugacity (f O2) gradually dropping to ~11 log units below the iron–wüstite (IW) buffer. The strong similarities between this system and the SuR phases and associated Ti-rich corundum in the Tibetan and Polar-Urals ophiolites suggest that the ophiolitic SuR suite probably formed by local in flux of CH4 ± H2 fluids within previously subducted peridotites (and included chromitites) during their rapid exhumation from the deep upper mantle to lithospheric levels. In the final stages of their ascent, the recycled peridotites and chromitites were overprinted by a shallow magmatic system similar to that observed at Mt Carmel, producing most of the SuR phases and eventually preserving them within the Tibetan and Polar-Urals ophiolites.

Keywords

ch4 ± h2fluidssuper-reduced phasescorundum megacrystscarbon cyclingmantle redox conditionstibetan ophiolitespodiform chromitites