Geochemical signatures throughout the layered Earth require significant mass transfer through the lower crust, yet geological pathways are under-recognized. Elongate bodies of basic to ultrabasic rocks are ubiquitous in exposures of the lower crust. Ultrabasic hornblendite bodies hosted within granulite facies gabbroic gneiss of the Pembroke Valley, Fiordland, New Zealand, are typical occurrences usually reported as igneous cumulate hornblendite. Their igneous features contrast with the metamorphic character of their host gabbroic gneiss. Both rock types have a common parent; field relationships are consistent with modification of host gabbroic gneiss into hornblendite. This precludes any interpretation involving cumulate processes in forming the hornblendite; these bodies are imposter cumulates. Instead, replacement of the host gabbroic gneiss formed hornblendite as a result of channeled high melt flux through the lower crust. High melt/rock ratios and disequilibrium between the migrating magma (granodiorite) and its host gabbroic gneiss induced dissolution (grain-scale magmatic assimilation) of gneiss and crystallization of mainly hornblende from the migrating magma. The extent of this reaction-replacement mechanism indicates that such hornblendite bodies delineate significant melt conduits. Accordingly, many of the ubiquitous basic to ultrabasic elongate bodies of the lower crust likely map the 'missing' mass transfer zones.