Petrogenesis of Fe-Ti oxides in amphibole-rich veins from the Lherz orogenic peridotite (Northeastern Pyrénées, France)

Jean Pierre Lorand, Michel Gregoire

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Accessory, homogeneous ilmenite and rutile are important oxide phases in amphibole-rich high-pressure cumulate veins which crosscut the Lherz orogenic lherzolite massif. Those veins crystallized from alkaline melts at P = 1.2-1.5 GPa within the uppermost lithospheric mantle. Transitional basalts contaminated by peridotitic wall-rocks and then uncontaminated alkali basalts (basanites) reused the same vein conduits. Petrographic observations give evidence that Fe-Ti oxide saturation depends on the silica contents of each parental melt. The water-poor silica-rich transitional melts that generated websterites and plagioclase-rich clinopyroxenites reached early Ti-oxide saturation (1,200°C; 1.5 GPa). Rutile is as abundant as ilmenite. It is enriched with Nb-Zr-Hf by a factor of 10-100 relative to either amphibole or ilmenite. The amphibole pyroxenites and hornblendites crystallized from basanites reached late Fe-Ti oxide saturation after precipitation of amphibole, with ilmenite crystallizing along with phlogopite in the latter. The Lherz ilmenites are devoid of exsolution and contain very little trivalent iron. This compositional feature indicates more reducing crystallization conditions than usually inferred for alkali lavas and their megacrysts (FMQ ± 1). The veins incompletely equilibrated for redox conditions with their wall-rock peridotites which record more oxidizing conditions (FMQ ± 1). The veins also exchanged magnesium and chromium, as suggested by Cr-bearing, Mg-rich ilmenite (up to 44 mol% MgTiO3) in veins less than 3-4 cm thick. Mg-rich ilmenite megacrysts occurring in alkali basalts could be actually xenocrysts from veins similar in thickness to those occurring at the Lherz massif, although crystallized from more oxidized magmas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-113
Number of pages15
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Alkali basalts
  • Fe-Ti oxides
  • Orogenic peridotites
  • Subcontinental lithosphere


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