Generation of ultraslow-spreading oceanic crust traced by various mafic blocks from ophiolitic mélange in the Xigaze Ophiolites, southern Tibet

Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology(2023)

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Construction of oceanic crusts in ultraslow-spreading ridges are controlled by detachment faults, but the specific ways they are determined by detachments remain unclear. Abundant ophiolite massifs discovered along the Yarlung-Tsangpo Suture Zone, southern Tibet, are considered to represent ultraslow-spreading centers of the Cretaceous Neo-Tethys ocean. The presence of various mafic blocks within the ophiolitic mélange beneath the lithospheric mantle provides evidence of the entire processes involved in crustal generation. Therefore, in this study geochemical investigations on these mafic blocks from the southern Luqu (Xigaze) ophiolitic mélanges were conducted to shed new lights on the petrogenesis of mafic crust rocks in ultraslow-spreading settings. Geochronological results via zircon U–Pb dating gave evidence for their coeval formation to other Yarlung-Tsangpo ophiolitic crust rocks in the Early Cretaceous (ca. 120–130 Ma). Geochemistry and Sr–Nd–Hf isotopes document depleted and primitive characteristics, revealing that these mafic rocks were crystallized from residual melts experienced substantial fractional crystallization following along liquid lines of descent of H2O-poor magmas. However, amphiboles are pervasive throughout our samples, which is in contrast with expectations of clinopyroxene and plagioclase as dominant liquidus phases of anhydrous magma. Textures of replacement of clinopyroxene by magnesio-hornblende and their higher contents of trace elements and Eu negative anomalies support that the amphiboles crystallized during transition from dry magma to hydrous one, indicative of water additions to solidifying melts. Based on the tectonic settings of ultraslow-spreading centers, we proposed a model in which seawater-derived fluids induced through detachment faults could be responsible for the generation of ultraslow-spreading crust.
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