Trace element distribution between orthopyroxene and clinopyroxene in peridotites from the Gakkel Ridge: A SIMS and NanoSIMS study

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Clinopyroxenes (cpx) in abyssal and ophiolitic peridotites are commonly analyzed for lithophile trace element abundances in order to estimate degrees of melting and porosity conditions during melt extraction, assuming that these data reflect near-solidus conditions. During cooling, however, cpxs always exsolve into parallel lamellae of low-Ca enstatite and high-Ca diopside. This may potentially lead to redistribution of the initial trace element budget. Since orthopyroxene (opx) cannot significantly host most incompatible trace elements, exsolution will lead to an enrichment in the cpx lamellae. In order to address a possibly exsolution-controlled partitioning between cpx and opx, we have obtained major and trace element mineral compositions on 14 plagioclase-free ocean floor mantle rocks. They cover the entire abyssal peridotite compositional spectrum from very fertile to highly depleted compositions. The mean volume proportion of opx lamellae in cpx porphyroclasts lies around 15% of the original cpx. For the light to middle rare earth elements, the enrichment in the measured cpx exsolution is exclusively controlled by these phase proportions. Relative to these highly incompatible trace elements, solely Ti and Yb partition significantly into opx. Lamellar interpyroxene partition coefficients, estimated from NanoSIMS analyses, are around three times as high as the ones for near-solidus bulk pyroxene. The equilibration temperatures for the exsolution lamella are slightly higher than 800°C. The bulk cpx can be reconstructed using the lamellar proportions and their relative partitioning. The implication of such a reconstruction is that the cpx rare earth element patterns shift almost in parallel to lower values. These shifts, however, do not affect mantle melting models proposed thus far for mid-ocean ridges. © Springer-Verlag 2005.

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Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

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