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Chromitites from the Fiskenaesset anorthositic complex, West Greenland; clues to late Archaean mantle processes


, : Chromitites from the Fiskenaesset anorthositic complex, West Greenland; clues to late Archaean mantle processes. Geological Society Special Publications 338: 197-212

Chromitites in the late Archaean Fiskenaesset anorthosite complex are characterized by a most unusual mineral assemblage: highly calcic plagioclase, iron-rich aluminous chromites and primary amphibole. In particular, the chromite compositions are atypical of chromitites in layered igneous intrusions. However, rare occurrences of this mineral assemblage are found in modern arcs and it is proposed here that the late Archaean calcic anorthositic chromitites formed by the partial melting of unusually aluminous harzburgite in a mantle wedge above a subduction zone. This melting process produced a hydrous, aluminous basalt, which fractionated at depth in the crust to produce a variety of high-alumina basalt compositions, from which the anorthosite complex with its chromitite horizons formed as a cumulate within the continental crust. The principal trigger for the late precipitation of chromite is thought to have been the removal of Al from the basaltic melt through plagioclase crystallization, and the build-up of Cr through an absence of clinopyroxene. It is proposed that the aluminous mantle source of the parent magma was produced by the melting of a harzburgitic mantle refertilized by small-volume, aluminous slab melts. This process ceased at the end of the Archaean because the dominant mechanism of crust generation changed such that melt production shifted from the slab into the mantle wedge, thus explaining why highly calcic anorthosites are almost totally restricted to the Archaean.

US$19.90

DOI: 10.1144/sp338.10


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