A mantle or mafic crustal source for Proterozoic anorthosites?

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Calculations of fractional crystallization (FC) and assimilation fractional crystallization (AFC) at 11 kb for a variety of primitive magmatic compositions and a mafic assimilant demonstrate that none of them has a bulk composition suitable to be parental to massif anorthosites. Mafic compositions thought to be parental to massif anorthosites have Mg' values of 0.6 to 0.4 and form coherent arrays with moderately steep slopes on plots of TiO2, K2O, and P2O5 versus Me. The calculated liquid lines of descent (LLD) of basaltic magmas undergoing FC or AFC processes pass through the arrays of anorthosite parent magma compositions with much shallower slopes than the natural arrays, which indicates that the arrays of natural parental magmas were produced by a process other than FC/AFC. Also, by the time most crystallizing basaltic magmas with or without assimilation reach plagioclase saturation, their residual liquids have Me values that are too low to be parental to anorthosites. MORB-like olivine tholeiites and high-aluminum olivine tholeiites (HAOT) from convergent plate margins do reach plagioclase saturation while sufficiently magnesian, but their Wo (Wollastonite) contents are too high such that they reach plagioclase saturation coexisting only with augite and do not reach orthopyroxene saturation (if at all) until Me is too low. Calculations show it is not possible to produce a high-Al melt from typical mantle peridotites that has sufficient TiO2 to make andesine-type anorthosite.Calculation of partial melting for an average mafic crustal composition at 11 kbar provides a much closer match to the array of natural parental compositions in terms of minor element concentrations and proportions of mineral components. However, accounting for the entire array requires a more magnesian source composition. Such compositions exist in several crustal xenolith localities. Similar results were obtained using the bulk composition of the Stillwater Complex, which is used as a model mafic source (here the premise is that overdense crustal intrusions might sink back into the mantle). As with the terrain composition, this particular layered intrusion composition is not sufficiently magnesian, however, the fit improves when mixtures of early and late stage portions of the complex (i.e., the denser portions) were run as potential source regions. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


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DOI 10.1016/j.lithos.2005.03.009