Ascent-driven differentiation: a mechanism to keep arc magmas metaluminous?

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Marxer, F.; Ulmer, P.; Müntener, O.: Ascent-driven differentiation: a mechanism to keep arc magmas metaluminous?. In: Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology (Formerly: Heidelberger Beiträge zur Mineralogie und Petrographie; Beiträge zur Mineralogie und Petrographie) 178 (2023), Nr. 8, 51. DOI:

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Arc magmatism is fundamental to the generation of new continental or island arc crust. However, the mechanisms that add to the chemical complexity of natural calc-alkaline magmas ranging from basaltic to rhyolitic compositions are debated. Differentiation mechanisms currently discussed include magma mixing, assimilation, crustal melting, or (fractional) crystallisation. In this contribution, the differentiation of arc magmas by decompression-driven crystallisation is investigated. We performed a set of equilibrium crystallisation experiments at variable crustal pressures (200–800 MPa) on a hydrous high-Al basalt (3.5 wt.% of H2O in the starting material) with run temperatures varying from near-liquidus conditions (1110 °C) to 900 °C. Oxygen fugacity was buffered at moderately oxidising conditions close to the NNO equilibrium. Combining these novel experiments with previous polybaric fractional crystallisation experiments (Marxer et al., Contrib Mineral Petrol 177:3, 2022) we demonstrate the effects of pressure on the crystallisation behaviour of calc-alkaline magmas with respect to liquid and cumulate lines of descent, mineral chemistry, and phase proportions. Decompression shifts the olivine-clinopyroxene cotectic curve towards melt compositions with higher normative clinopyroxene and enlarges the stability field of plagioclase. This exerts a key control on the alumina saturation index of residual liquids. We argue that near-adiabatic (or near-isothermal) decompression accompanied by dissolution of clinopyroxene entrained during residual melt extraction in the lower crust keeps arc magmas metaluminous during crystallisation-driven differentiation thereby closely reproducing the compositional spread observed for natural arc rocks.
License of this version: CC BY 4.0 Unported
Document Type: Article
Publishing status: publishedVersion
Issue Date: 2023
Appears in Collections:Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät

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