Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Major element, Ni, Mn and Ca electron microprobe analyses of olivine phenocrysts in one of the most primitive basalts from the FAMOUS area of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, 527-1-1, reveal two different olivine populations, distinguished by their zoning characteristics. The often skeletal Group I olivines have zoning profiles with high forsterite, high Ni, low Mn, and low Ca cores. These profiles can be explained by low pressure crystallization from the 527-1-1 magma on cooling. The equant, often megacrystic Group II olivines also have high forsterite, low Mn cores, but the cores have low Ni compared to rims. Thus they are normally zoned with respect to Mg, Fe, and Mn but reversely zoned with respect to Ni. For example, Ni ranges from 1,700 ppm at Fo90.5 in the core to 2,100 ppm at Fo89.5 at the rim. In view of the published whole rock and mineral data of le Roex et al. (1981), the most likely explanation for these data is that the Group II olivines are xenocrysts assimilated from solidified “plagioclase-pyroxene” basalts through which the 527-1-1 basalt ascended. The diffusion rate of Ni and size of the xenocrystic olivines are used to calculate the residence time of the assimilated olivines in the magma. An alternative hypothesis would be a high pressure origin for the Group II olivines. This would be possible if future experiments show that with increasing pressure the partition coefficient for Ni decreases relative to the partition coefficient for Mg for a given bulk composition. Current evidence suggests this is unlikely. The data from 527-1-1 and other samples from the FAMOUS area require magmas with distinct Ni-MgO-FeO characteristics. In general, MORB from different ridge segments fall on distinct trends on plots of MgOvs. Ni as well as MgOvs. FeO. Calculation of the MgO and Ni contents of primary magmas suggests a mechanism by which such distinct trends could come about.
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