Large-scale mechanical redistribution of orthopyroxene and plagioclase in the basement sill, ferrar dolerites, McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica: Petrological, mineral-chemical and field evidence for channelized movement of crystals and melt

J.H.J. Bédard, B.D. Marsh, T.G. Hersum, H.R. Naslund, S.B. Mukasa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Jurassic Ferrar dolerite sills of the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica represent the plumbing system for flood basalt eruptions associated with the breakup of Gondwana. Among the Ferrar sills, the 350-450 m thick cumulate-textured Basement Sill is differentiated into a Lower Marginal Zone (LMZ) gabbronorite, a thick Lower Zone (LZ) orthopyroxene-plagioclase orthocumulate pyroxenite, a strongly layered mela- to leuco-gabbronorite Middle Zone (MZ), a thick Upper Zone (UZ) gabbronorite with ferrogabbroic pods, and an Upper Marginal Zone (UMZ) gabbronorite. Textures and mineral compositions in the LZ pyroxenite and MZ-UZ gabbronorites are nearly identical, the main distinction being the greater relative proportion of plagioclase in the MZ-UZ gabbronorites, and of pigeonite in the UZ. Most orthopyroxene in the LZ, MZ and UZ occurs as sub-euhedral, normally zoned primocrysts, commonly with rounded plagioclase inclusions. Plagioclase is usually sub-euhedral and normally zoned, but can contain sodic cores interpreted to be xenocrystic. Orthopyroxene and feldspar compositions thoughout the sill are generally fairly uniform, and resemble the compositions of micro-phenocrysts in the chilled margins. We infer that the sill was filled by a c. 1250°C slurry of orthopyroxene + plagioclase phenocrysts or primocrysts that subsequently unmixed in response to buoyancy forces. The LZ websterite contains numerous anorthosite to gabbronorite schlieren, veins and pipes (
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2289-2326
Number of pages38
JournalJournal of Petrology
Volume48
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 2007

Bibliographical note

Cited By :39

Export Date: 3 November 2016

Keywords

  • Antarctica
  • Cumulates
  • Differentiation
  • Ferrar
  • Layering

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