The petrogenesis of the Lac Guyer komatiites and basalts and the nature of the komatiite-komatiitic basalt compositional gap

Karen Stamatelopoulou-Seymour, Don Francis, John Ludden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A sequence of ultramafic rocks in the Lac Guyer Archean greenstone belt exhibit brecciated flow tops, pillow structures, and spinifex textures testifying to their volcanic origin. Massive, spinifex-textured and differentiated flows in the sequence have the chemical characteristics of peridotitic komatiite, with MgO ranging from 19-25 wt.%. Associated pillowed flows have compositions that straddle the conventional boundary between komatiite and komatiitic basalt with MgO contents ranging from 16 to 19 wt.% MgO and are best termed pyroxenitic komatiites. Unlike other komatiitic occurrences, the peridotitic and pyroxenitic komatiites at Lac Guyer constitute a continuous chemical spectrum with no evidence of population minimum near 18 wt.% MgO. The contrasting behaviour of highly compatible elements, such as Ni and Cr, versus incompatible elements, such as Zr, indicate that this compositional spectrum was produced by a variation in the extent of partial melting (10-40%) of a garnet lherzolite source in the Archean mantle. The pyroxenitic komatiites represent liquids produced during lower (10-20%) degrees of melting during which garnet remained in the mantle residue. However, a change in slope in the distribution of Zr vs. Y between the pyroxenitic and the peridotitic komatiites indicates that garnet was completely consumed at the more extensive degrees of melting which produced the peridotitic komatiites. The Lac Guyer volcanic rocks display a population minimum at 15 wt.% MgO separating komatiitic magmas whose compositions are controlled by partial melting from basalts whose composition is controlled by crystal fractionation. The population minimum near 18 wt.% MgO which is taken as the boundary between komatiite and komatiitic basalt may have a similar origin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-14
Number of pages9
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Volume84
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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