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Wet magmatic processes during the accretion of the deep crust of the Oman Ophiolite paleoridge: phase diagrams and petrological records
The Oman Ophiolite is regarded as an analogue to modern fast-spreading ocean ridge systems in an environment of subduction zone initiation. In contrast to recent mid-ocean ridge basalts from the East Pacific Rise, parental melts at the Oman paleoridge are assumed to be hydrous in nature. In order to constrain the role of water during magmatic accretion processes in the deep crust at the Oman paleoridge, we evaluated several experimental studies in hydrous tholeiitic systems performed at shallow pressures. We concluded that the wehrlitic phase assemblage (olivine coexisting with clinopyroxene but without plagioclase) is the most significant feature indicative of high prevailing water activities. The stability of the wehrlitic assemblage decreases with decreasing pressure (not stable in the upper plutonic crust) and depends on the chemical system (only stable in primitive MORB systems).
We applied these results to plutonic rocks from cores drilled as part of the Oman Drilling Project (OmanDP). A key observation is the presence of coherent wehrlitic layers within the layered gabbro series, which are frequent in the lowermost gabbros (20%), relative sparse in the mid-crust (6%), and absent from the top of the plutonic crust at the dike/gabbro transition. Based on the combined phase relations for hydrous MORB-type systems at shallow pressures, we interpret this as a direct consequence of the presence of a significant water activity during the accretion of the plutonic crust of the Oman paleoridge, and not as a local phenomenon related to variations in temperature or bulk chemistry. These findings have implications for the mechanism of accretion of the lower crust at the Oman paleoridge, supporting a model that significant parts of the plutonic crust were produced by in-situ crystallization of primitive melt sills.
Place of publicationNetherlands
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