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Formation of fast-spreading lower oceanic crust as revealed by a new Mg–REE coupled geospeedometer

Sun, Chenguang and Lissenberg, Cornelis Johan 2018. Formation of fast-spreading lower oceanic crust as revealed by a new Mg–REE coupled geospeedometer. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 487 , pp. 165-178. 10.1016/j.epsl.2018.01.032

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Abstract

A new geospeedometer is developed based on the differential closures of Mg and rare earth element (REE) bulk-diffusion between coexisting plagioclase and clinopyroxene. By coupling the two elements with distinct bulk closure temperatures, this speedometer can numerically solve the initial temperatures and cooling rates for individual rock samples. As the existing Mg-exchange thermometer was calibrated for a narrow temperature range and strongly relies on model-dependent silica activities, a new thermometer is developed using literature experimental data. When the bulk closure temperatures of Mg and REE are determined, respectively, using this new Mg-exchange thermometer and the existing REE-exchange thermometer, this speedometer can be implemented for a wide range of compositions, mineral modes, and grain sizes. Applications of this new geospeedometer to oceanic gabbros from the fast-spreading East Pacific Rise at Hess Deep reveal that the lower oceanic crust crystallized at temperatures of 998–1353 °C with cooling rates of 0.003–10.2 °C/yr. Stratigraphic variations of the cooling rates and crystallization temperatures support deep hydrothermal circulations and in situ solidification of various replenished magma bodies. Together with existing petrological, geochemical and geophysical evidence, results from this new speedometry suggest that the lower crust formation at fast-spreading mid-ocean ridges involves emplacement of primary mantle melts in the deep section of the crystal mush zone coupled with efficient heat removal by crustal-scale hydrothermal circulations. The replenished melts become chemically and thermally evolved, accumulate as small magma bodies at various depths, feed the shallow axial magma chamber, and may also escape from the mush zone to generate off-axial magma lenses.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0012-821X
Funders: NERC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 6 April 2018
Date of Acceptance: 29 January 2018
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2019 14:06
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/110556

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