Scientific Reports: Monomineralic anorthosites in layered intrusions are indicators of the magma chamber replenishment by plagioclase-only-saturated melts

Rais Latypov, Sofya Chistyakova, Gelu Costin, Olivier Namur, Steve Barnes & Willem Kruger

Abstract

The formation of some Earth’s monomineralic igneous rocks appears to be prohibited by constraints imposed by liquidus phase-equilibria on the evolution of mantle-derived magmas. Yet, these rocks exist as stratiform layers in many mafic-ultramafic intrusions. One conspicuous example is monomineralic anorthosites in the Bushveld Complex that occur as stratiform layers up to hundreds of kilometres in length. Such monomineralic anorthosites appear to require parental melts saturated in plagioclase only but where and how to produce these melts remains a contentious issue. Here we argue that they are likely sourced from deep-seated magma reservoirs. In response to pressure reduction, these ascending melts become first superheated and then saturated in plagioclase after stalling and cooling in shallow-level chambers. Adcumulus growth of plagioclase from such melts at the chamber floor results in the formation of monomineralic anorthosites. We propose that stratiform layers of monomineralic anorthosites in layered intrusions are products of the chamber replenishment by melts whose saturation in plagioclase as a single liquidus phase is triggered by their transcrustal ascent towards the Earth’s surface.

Latypov, R., Chistyakova, S., Costin, G., Namur, O. & Barnes, S. (2020). Monomineralic anorthosites in layered intrusions are indicators of the magma chamber replenishment by plagioclase-only-saturated melts. Scientific Reports. Springer US 1–14. doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-60778-w

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-60778-w

https://www.wits.ac.za/news/latest-news/research-news/2020/2020-03/new-study-reveals-the-secret-of-magmatic-rocks-consisting-of-only-one-mineral.html

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