Disequilibrium Dihedral Angles in Layered Intrusions: a Microstructural Record of Fractionation

Holness, Marian B. and Namur, Olivier and Cawthorn, R. Grant (2013) Disequilibrium Dihedral Angles in Layered Intrusions: a Microstructural Record of Fractionation. Journal of Petrology, 54 (10). pp. 2067-2093. ISSN Print ISSN 0022-3530 - Online ISSN 1460-2415 DOI doi: 10.1093/petrology/egt041

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Official URL: http://petrology.oxfordjournals.org/content/54/10/...


The dihedral angle formed at junctions between two plagioclase grains and a grain of augite is only very rarely in textural equilibrium in gabbros from kilometre-scale crustal layered intrusions. The median of a population of these disequilibrium angles, Θcpp, varies systematically within a single layered intrusion, remaining constant over large stretches of stratigraphy with significant increases and decreases associated with the addition or reduction respectively of the number of phases on the liquidus of the bulk magma. The stepwise changes in Θcpp are present in the Upper Zone of the Bushveld Complex, the Megacyclic Unit I of the Sept Iles Intrusion, and the Layered Series of the Skaergaard intrusion. The plagioclase-bearing cumulates of Rum have a bimodal distribution of Θcpp, dependent on whether the cumulus assemblage includes clinopyroxene. The presence of the stepwise changes is independent of the order of arrival of cumulus phases and of the composition of either the cumulus phases or the inferred composition of the interstitial liquid. The only parameter that behaves in an exactly analogous manner to Θcpp is the rate of change in enthalpy with temperature (ΔH/ΔT) during crystallization. Both ΔH/ΔT and Θcpp increase with the addition of a liquidus phase, and decrease with the removal of a liquidus phase. The replacement of one phase by another has little effect on ΔH/ΔT and no discernible effect on Θcpp. An increase of ΔH/ΔT results in an increase in the fraction of the total enthalpy budget that is the latent heat of crystallization (the fractional latent heat). It also increases the mass crystallized in each incremental temperature drop (the crystal productivity). These increases of both fractional latent heat and crystal productivity are likely to cause an increase in the time taken to form three-grain junctions in the mush via thermal buffering of a thickened mushy layer. We suggest these are the underlying causes of stepwise increases in Θcpp. Stepwise changes in the geometry of three-grain junctions in fully solidified gabbros thus provide a clear microstructural marker for the progress of fractionation down the liquid line of descent in layered intrusions.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 2013AREP, IA67,
Subjects: 05 - Petrology - Igneous, Metamorphic and Volcanic Studies
Divisions: 05 - Petrology - Igneous, Metamorphic and Volcanic Studies
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Petrology
Volume: 54
Page Range: pp. 2067-2093
Identification Number: doi: 10.1093/petrology/egt041
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2014 23:43
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2014 17:17
URI: http://eprints.esc.cam.ac.uk/id/eprint/2977

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