Experimental evidence for the role of accessory phases in magma genesis

T. H. Green*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


Recent experimental studies have established petrogenetic models based on melting processes involving major phases. The possible residual character of trace-element-enriched accessory phases is not considered for temperatures well above the solidus in these models. In contrast, geochemists, applying trace element data to independently test the experimentally-based models, have concluded that residual (or fractionating) accessory phases may have an essential role in controlling the trace element (especially REE) distributions in magmas. Some recent experimental work provides data on the stability of potentially significant accessories such as sphene, rutile, apatite, zoisite and mica in basaltic compositions at elevated P and T. Sphene is stable to 1000°C with 60% melting of a hydrous tholeiite at 15 kbar. At higher pressure, rutile is the only Ti-rich accessory phase, and is present to at least 1000°C and high degrees of melting. Published REE data on sphene and rutile suggest that these phases may be important in controlling REE distribution in some magmas. For example, island are high-Mg, low-Ca-Ti tholeiites with low REE abundances and U-shaped patterns (Hickey and Frey, 1979) may reflect the role of sphene. In addition to rutile, similar close-packed Ti-rich accessory phases such as priderite, perovskite, crichtonite and loveringite may occur in mantle-derived magmas. These phases readily accommodate the REE but their possible role needs experimental confirmation. Apatite is recorded in hawaiite (1.16% P2Os) with 2% H2O added at 5-6 kbar and 1050°C within 30°C of the liquidus, but at present no other experimental data are available on its high P, T stability, although thermodynamic calculations indicate that F may increase its stability markedly. Apatite is well known in high-pressure inclusions and as a phenocryst phase in rocks of the alkaline and calc-alkaline series. Ilmenite is known as a near-liquidus phase in some mafic magmas at ∼5-10 kbar, but its stability decreases to near-solidus at 25-30 kbar. Zoisite occurs in hydrous mafic compositions at mantle pressures, but it is confined to temperatures < 780°C. Finally, mica has a wide temperature range of stability at mantle pressures, especially in potassic magmas, and phlogopitic mica is stable to ∼ 1040°C at 20-25 kbar in a hydrous, K-rich "tholeiite" (1.6% K2O).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-422
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1981


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