Multiple origins of clinopyroxenes in alkali basaltic rocks

Suzanne Y. Wass*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

209 Citations (Scopus)


Geochemical and textural data on clinopyroxenes in individual alkali basaltic flows from provinces in eastern Australia and the Massif Central can be used to differentiate four different modes of origin (three at high pressure) for these clinopyroxenes. Many single flows from the two provinces contain clinopyroxenes of three, or even four, of these origins. Rare flows contain core clinopyroxene with overgrowths of clinopyroxenes of two distinct generation. Each of the overgrowth is compositionally analogous to clinopyroxenes occurring in xenoliths or as discrete crystals in the same host lava. Such rimming relationships provide evidence that the host magma has undergone high pressure crystallisation and confirm that some xenoliths and megacrysts are cognate. With decreasing pressure the major changes in clinopyroxene chemistry are an increase in the ratio Allv/Alvi, a linear increase of atomic proportions of Ti and Al with decreasing Si, and an increase in the Ti: (100 Mg/(Mg + Σ Fe)) ratio of the pyroxenes. Al2O2 wt, % is an unreliable potential geobarometric indicator; consideration of tetrahedral and octahedral site occupancies by Al (Allv/Alvl ratio) is necessary. High-pressure fractionation dominated by clinopyroxene is postulated for some basaltic-composition, resulting in SiO2 depletion, alkali enrichment and decrease in the Mg/(Mg + Fe2+) value of the host magma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-132
Number of pages18
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 1979


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