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Authors: Perinelli, C.* 
Orlando, A.* 
Conte, A. M.* 
Armienti, P.* 
Borrini, D.* 
Faccini, B.* 
Misiti, V.* 
Title: Metasomatism induced by alkaline magma in the upper mantle of northern Victoria Land (Antarctica): an experimental approach
Issue Date: 2008
Series/Report no.: /293 (2008)
DOI: 10.1144/SP293.13
Keywords: Mantle
melt-rock reaction experiments
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.04. Geology::04.04.05. Mineralogy and petrology 
Abstract: Magma generation in the Ross Sea system is related to partial melting of strongly metasomatised mantle sources where amphibole most probably plays a crucial role. In this context, metasomatism induced by a mela-nephelinite melt in lithospheric mantle of the Mt. Melbourne Volcanic Province (northern Victoria Land – NVL, Antarctica) was investigated experimentally studying the effects of melt interaction with lherzolite at 1.5-2.0 GPa and T=975-1300°C, and wehrlite at 1.0 GPa and T=1050-1250°C. The experiments were designed to induce melt infiltration into the ultramafic rocks. The observed modifications in minerals are compared with those found in mantle xenoliths from NVL. The effects of metasomatic modifications are evaluated on the basis of run temperature, distance from the infiltrating melt and on the diffusion rates of chemical components. Both in lherzolite and wehrlite, clinopyroxene exhibits large compositional variations ranging from primary diopside to high Mg-Cr-(Na) augitic and omphacitic clinopyroxenes in lherzolite, and to low Mg and high Ti-Al-Fe-Na augites in wehrlite. Olivine (in wehrlite) and spinel (in lherzolite) also result compositionally modified, the former shows enrichments in Fe, the latter displays a higher Cr/(Cr+Al) ratio. The systematic variations in mineral compositions imply modifications of the chemistry of the infiltrating melt as recorded by the glass veinlets and patches observed in some charges. In experiments involving wehrlite paragenesis, the glass composition approaches that of melt patches associated to both amphibole-free and amphibole-bearing natural samples, and is related to olivine+clinopyroxene crystallisation coupled with primary clinopyroxene dissolution at the contact between the metasomatising melt and the solid matrix. Even if amphibole crystallisation was not attained in the experiments, we were able to explain the occurrence of amphibole in the natural system considering that in this case a hot metasomatising melt infiltrates a cooler matrix.
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