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Geochemistry of diverse basalt types from Loihi Seamount, Hawaii: petrogenetic implications

Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/0012-821x(83)90150-4
  • Loihi Seamount: Collected Papers
  • Chemistry
  • Earth Science


Abstract The wide variety of basalt types, tholeiitic to basanite, dredged from Loihi Seamount have minor and trace element abundances that are characteristic of subaerial Hawaiian basalts, thereby confirming that Loihi Seamount is a manifestation of the Hawaiian “hot spot”. Within the Loihi sample suite there are well-defined positive correlations among abundances of highly incompatible elements (P, K, Rb, Ba, Nb, light REE and Ta) and moderately incompatible elements (Sr, Ti, Zr and Hf) and between MgO, Ni and Cr. However, within the Loihi suite abundance ratios of geochemically similar elements (Zr/Hf, Nb/Ta and La/Ce) vary by factors of 1.2–1.5 and abundance ratios of highly incompatible elements such as P/Ce, P/Th, K/Rb, Ba/Th and La/Nb vary by factors of 1.2–2.5. These abundance ratios are not readily changed by different degrees of fractionation and melting. Therefore, we conclude that these samples are not genetically related by different degrees of melting of a compositionally homogeneous source. On the basis of K/P, K/Ti, P/Ce, Zr/Nb, Th/P and La/Sm abundance ratios, the twelve samples studied in detail can be divided into six geochemical groups. Samples within each group are similar in 87Sr/ 86Sr [1], and intra-group compositional variations may reflect low-pressure fractionation and different degrees of melting. In addition, crossing chondrite-normalized REE patterns within the alkalic basalt groups reflect equilibration of the magmas with garnet. In ratio-ratio plots involving abundance ratios of highly incompatible elements, e.g., La/P, Nb/P, K/P, Rb/P, Ba/P and Th/P, the geochemical groups define linear arrays suggestive of mixing. However, these data combined with the isotopic data are not consistent with two-component mixing.

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