Melt-Peridotite Interactions in Shallow Mantle at the East Pacific Rise: Evidence from ODP Site 895 (Hess Deep)

Stephen J. Edwards and John Malpas*
Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences, Manchester Metropolitan University, Chester Street, Manchester M1 5GD, UK
Department of Earth Sciences, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland A1B 3X5, Canada
*Present address: Department of Earth Sciences, University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong.

Abstract: Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Leg 147 recently drilled at Site 895 in Hess Deep (eastern Equatorial Pacific), where a structurally dissected section of the East Pacific Rise (EPR) is preserved, and intersected the mantle-crust transition zone of a fast-spreading centre for the first time. The core from Hole 895D (latitude 2°16.635′N, longitude 101°26.777′W) revealed that harzburgite is predominant over dunite in the top section of the Hole, but the reverse relationship is found lower in the section where dunite is closely associated with gabbroic rocks (gabbro and troctolite). Texture, mineralogy and mineral chemistry suggest a two-stage evolution for harzburgite preserved at the transition zone. Harzburgite with a porphyroclastic texture was produced by partial melting of peridotite to, or beyond the clinopyroxene-out phase boundary before or during asthenospheric (>1000°C) flow, which suggests a higher degree of mantle melting than normally expected below mid-ocean ridges. Subsequently, basaltic melt(s) interacted with this refractory harzburgite (olivine + orthopyroxene + spinel), which resulted in dissolution of orthopyroxene, re-equilibration and formation of olivine and spinel, and formation of clinopyroxene ± plagioclase, this is manifested as a progressive conversion of harzburgite to gabbroic rock through an intermediate dunite. At low melt/peridotite ratios, harzburgite was refertilised as the plagioclase component of the melt completely reacted with the peridotite matrix to produce clinopyroxene-spinel intergrowths and Al enrichment in ferromagnesian minerals. At high ratios, orthopyroxene completely dissolved incongruently, plagioclase appeared, and spinel was partially to completely resorbed; this produced olivine-bearing and olivine-free gabbroic rocks. Residual minerals in peridotites adjacent to gabbroic zones were enriched in Fe and Ti and depleted in Al.

Keywords: harzburgite • mid-ocean ridge basalt • melt-peridotite interaction • mantle refertilization • Hess Deep • East Pacific Rise • ODP Leg 147

Mineralogical Magazine; February 1996 v. 60; no. 398; p. 191-206; DOI: 10.1180/minmag.1996.060.398.13
© 1996, The Mineralogical Society
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