Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 88, Issue 4, pp 307–321 | Cite as

Rift-zone magmatism: Petrology of basaltic rocks transitional from CFB to MORB, southeastern Brazil margin

  • R. V. Fodor
  • S. K. Vetter


Compositions of basaltic samples from the southeastern Brazil passive margin (18°–24° S) depict the change from continental to oceanic lithosphere during the opening of the South Atlantic Ocean. Samples studied range from 138 to 105 m.y. old and are from 12 Petrobrás drill cores recovered from the coastline to about 150 km offshore in the Espirito Santo, Campos, and Santos basins. Compositions vary, ranging, for example, from 49–54 wt.% SiO2, 0.5–3.0 wt.% TiO2, 0.6–5.0 FeO*/MgO, and 〈1-〉6 La/ Yb(n), but can be grouped: (i) basalts enriched in incompatible elements, such as K (some K2O>2.0 wt.%), Rb (>18 ppm), Zr (>120 ppm), and LREE (some FeO* 16 wt.%; most with SiO2 51–54 wt.%), and resembling Serra Geral continental flood basalts (SG-CFB) of southern Brazil; (ii) basalts less enriched, or transitional, in incompatible elements, having K2O <0.40 wt.% and flat REE patterns, and resemble N. Atlantic diabases and FAMOUS basalts; and (iii) one depleted sample, Ce/Yb(n)=0.7, where Ce(n)=4. Expressed in oceanic-basalt terminology and Zr-Nb-Y abundances, ‘enriched’ samples are P- and T-type MORB (e.g., Zr/Nb ∼4–25), ‘transitional’ samples are T-type (Zr/ Nb ∼8–27), and the ‘depleted’ sample is N-type MORB (Zr/Nb>30).

Trace-element ratios (e.g., Zr/Nb, Zr/Y) link the Brazil margin basalts to a heterogeneous mantle (attributed to metasomatic veining) of variably proportioned mixtures of depleted-mantle (N-MORB) and plume (P-MORB, e.g., Tristan hotspot) materials. The various compositions therefore reflect, in part, different zones of melting during the separation of Gondwanaland, where gradual decompression during rifting enabled concurrent melting of upper, more depleted (non- or sparsely-veined) mantle and enriched (densely-veined) mantle. Within the time represented, melting produced enriched, transitional, and depleted magmas that were emplaced subaerially, hypabyssally, and subaqueously; they mark the transition from CFB before rifting and separation (from deeper, enriched mantle) to N-MORB in the S. Atlantic afterwards (from non- or sparsely-veined upper mantle). While P-type mantle components account for the enriched compositions of some basalts (Zr/Nb<8), continental crust is largely responsible for that of others (e.g., Ti/Zr 40–57; La/Yb(n) 5–6, and δ18O+12.2 in one sample). Some may be contaminated expressions of otherwise T-type basalts free of crustal components. This study identifies CFB to be from sources similar to those for T- and P-type oceanic rocks, where individual CFB magmas may or may not have acquired crustal signatures.


Continental Crust Gondwanaland Incompatible Element Oceanic Lithosphere South Atlantic Ocean 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. V. Fodor
    • 1
  • S. K. Vetter
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric SciencesNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

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