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Trace element abundances in megacrysts and their host basalts: Constraints on partition coefficients and megacryst genesis

Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/0016-7037(84)90056-5


Abstract In an effort to obtain information about mineral/melt trace element partitioning during the high pressure petrogenesis of basic rocks, we determined rare earth and other trace element abundances in megacrysts of clinopyroxene, orthopyroxene, amphibole, mica, anorthoclase, apatite and zircon, and in their host basalts. In general, the ranges of mineral/melt partition coefficients established from experimental partitioning studies and phenocryst/matrix measurements overlap with the ranges of megacryst/host abundance ratios. Our data for Hf, Sc, Ta and Th partitioning represent some of the only estimates available. Consideration of phase equilibria, major element partitioning and isotopic ratios indicate that most of the pyroxene and amphibole megacrysts may have been in equilibrium with their host magmas at high pressures (mostly 10–25 kb). In contrast, it is unlikely that mica, anorthoclase, apatite and zircon megacrysts formed in equilibrium with their host basalts; instead, we conclude that they were precipitated from more evolved magmas and have been mixed into their present host magmas. Consequently, the trace element abundance ratios for megacryst/host should not be interpreted as partition coefficients, but only as guides for understanding trace element partitioning during high pressure petrogenesis. With this caveat, we conclude that the megacryst/ host trace element abundance data indicate that mineral/melt partition coefficients in basaltic systems during high pressure fractionation are not drastically different from partition coefficients valid for low pressure fractionation.

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