Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 88, Issue 4, pp 386–402 | Cite as

Field setting, mineralogy, chemistry, and genesis of arc picrites, New Georgia, Solomon Islands

  • W. R. H. Ramsay
  • A. J. Crawford
  • J. D. Foden


The field setting, petrography, mineralogy, and geochemistry of a suite of picrite basalts and related magnesian olivine tholeiites (New Georgia arc picrites) from the New Georgia Volcanics, Kolo caldera in the active ensimatic Solomon Islands arc are presented. These lavas, with an areal extent in the order of 1002 km and almost 1 km thick in places, are located close to the intersection of the Woodlark spreading zone with the Pacific plate margin. They contain abundant olivine (Fo94-75) and diopside (Cr2O3 1.1-0.4%, Al2O3 1–3%), and spinels characterised by a large range in Cr/(Cr+Al) (0.85–0.46) and Mg/(Mg+ Fe++) (0.65−0.1). The spinels are Fe+++ rich, with Fe+++/ (Fe++++Cr+Al) varying from 0.06 to 1.0. A discrete group of spinels with the highest Cr/(Cr+Al) (0.83–0.86) and lowest Fe+++ contents are included in the most Mg-rich olivine (Fo91–94) and both may be xenocrystal in origin.

The lavas, which range between 10–28% MgO, define linear trends on oxide (element) — MgO diagrams and these trends are interpreted as olivine (∼0.9) clinopyroxene (∼0.1) control lines. For the reconstructed parent magma composition of these arc picrites, ratios involving CaO, Al2O3, TiO2, Zr, V and Sc are very close to chondritic. REE patterns are slightly LREE — enriched ((La/Sm)N 1.3–1.43) and HREE are flat. All lavas show marked enrichments in K, Rb, Sr, Ba, and LREE relative to MORB with similar MgO contents, but the TiO2 content of the proposed parent magma is close to those of postulated primary MORB liquids. It is proposed that the arc parent magma was produced by partial melting of sub-oceanic upper mantle induced by the introduction of LILE — enriched hydrous fluids derived by dehydration and/or partial melting of subducted ocean crust and possibly minor sediments.


Olivine Diopside Parent Magma Solomon Island Pacific Plate 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. R. H. Ramsay
    • 1
  • A. J. Crawford
    • 2
  • J. D. Foden
    • 3
  1. 1.Geological Survey of VictoriaMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Department of GeologyUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  3. 3.Department of GeologyUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

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