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Consequences of a crystal mush-dominated magma plumbing system: a mid-ocean ridge perspective

Lissenberg, C. Johan, MacLeod, Christopher J. and Bennett, Emma N. 2019. Consequences of a crystal mush-dominated magma plumbing system: a mid-ocean ridge perspective. Philosophical Transactions A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 377 (2139) 10.1098/rsta.2018.0014

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Abstract

Crystal mush is rapidly emerging as a new paradigm for the evolution of igneous systems. Mid-ocean ridges provide a unique opportunity to study mush processes: geophysical data indicate that, even at the most magmatically robust fast-spreading ridges, the magma plumbing system typically comprises crystal mush. In this paper, we describe some of the consequences of crystal mush for the evolution of the mid-ocean ridge magmatic system. One of these is that melt migration by porous flow plays an important role, in addition to rapid, channelized flow. Facilitated by both buoyancy and (deformation-enhanced) compaction, porous flow leads to reactions between the mush and migrating melts. Reactions between melt and the surrounding crystal framework are also likely to occur upon emplacement of primitive melts into the mush. Furthermore, replenishment facilitates mixing between the replenishing melt and interstitial melts of the mush. Hence, crystal mushes facilitate reaction and mixing, which leads to significant homogenization, and which may account for the geochemical systematics of mid-ocean ridge basalt (MORB). A second consequence is cryptic fractionation. At mid-ocean ridges, a plagioclase framework may already have formed when clinopyroxene saturates. As a result, clinopyroxene phenocrysts are rare, despite the fact that the vast majority of MORB records clinopyroxene fractionation. Hence, melts extracted from crystal mush may show a cryptic fractionation signature. Another consequence of a mush-dominated plumbing system is that channelized flow of melts through the crystal mush leads to the occurrence of vertical magmatic fabrics in oceanic gabbros, as well as the entrainment of diverse populations of phenocrysts. Overall, we conclude that the occurrence of crystal mush has a number of fundamental implications for the behaviour and evolution of magmatic systems, and that mid-ocean ridges can serve as a useful template for trans-crustal mush columns elsewhere

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Publisher: Royal Society, The
ISSN: 1364-503X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 22 March 2019
Date of Acceptance: 16 October 2018
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2019 11:17
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/121054

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