Trace Element and Isotopic Characteristics of Plagioclase Megacrysts in Plagioclase Ultraphyric Basalts (PUB)


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Major, trace, and isotopic compositions of plagioclase megacrysts from plagioclase ultraphyric basalts (PUB) from multiple mid-ocean ridges were determined to characterize the liquid compositions from which they were derived. Large (up to 2 cm) plagioclase megacrysts exhibit homogeneous major element compositions, with variable degrees of trace element and isotopic heterogeneity. The pattern and degree of heterogeneity is itself variable between megacrysts, with some being homogenous and others exhibiting a wide range of trace element and isotopic zoning. Liquids calculated to be in equilibrium with the plagioclase megacrysts exhibit a range equivalent to lavas erupted from entire ridge segments. Many of the megacrysts may be considered to be cognate xenocrysts in that they are related to the same mantle material as the host lavas in which they were carried to the surface. The observed trace element patterns together with the isotopic diversity suggest a complex set of processes are active, that include mixing of distinct primitive melts, fractional crystallization, and diffusive reequilibration. The degree to which each process influences the megacrysts varies between individual crystals in each sample. Equally important is the range of composition we see within individual crystals. For example, Ba concentrations vary by as much as a factor of 5 but not systematically from core to rim.
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Key words
plagioclase,MORB,basalt,Sr isotopes,trace elements
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