Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 77, Issue 2, pp 195–206 | Cite as

Origin of coexisting minette and ultramafic breccia, Navajo volcanic field

  • Michael F. Roden


Trace element evidence indicates that at the Buell Park diatreme, Navajo volcanic field, the felsic minette can be best explained by crystal fractionation from a potassic magma similar in composition to the mafic minettes. Compatible trace element (Cr, Ni, Sc) abundances decrease while concentrations of most incompatible elements (Ce, Yb, Rb, Ba, Sr) remain constant or increase from mafic to felsic minette. In particular, the nearly constant Ce/Yb ratio of the minettes combined with the decrease in Cr, Ni, and Sc abundances from mafic to felsic minette is inconsistent with a model of varying amounts of partial melting as the process to explain minette compositions. The uniformity of rare earth element (REE) abundances in all the minettes requires that an accessory mineral, apatite, dominated the geochemistry of the REE during fractionation. A decrease in P2O5 from mafic to felsic minette and the presence of apatite in cognate inclusions are also consistent with apatite fractionation. Higher initial87Sr/86Sr ratios in the felsic minettes relative to the proposed parental mafic minettes, however, is inconsistent with a simple fractionation model. Also, a separated phlogopite has a higher initial87Sr/86Sr ratio than host minette. These anomalous isotopic features probably reflect interaction of minette magma with crust.

The associated ultramafic breccia at Buell Park is one of the Navajo kimberlites, but REE concentrations of the matrix do not support the kimberlite classification. Although the matrix of the breccia is enriched in the light REE relative to chondrites, and has high La, Rb, Ba, and Sr concentrations relative to peridotites, the concentrations of these elements are significantly lower than in South African kimberlites. A high initial87Sr/86Sr ratio combined with petrographic evidence of ubiquitous crustal xenoliths in the Navajo kimberlites suggests that the relatively high incompatible element concentrations are due to a crustal component. Apparently, Navajo kimberlites are most likely a mixture of comminuted mantle wall rock and crustal material; there is no evidence for an incompatible element-rich magma which is characteristic of South African kimberlites.

If the mafic minettes are primary magmas derived from a garnet peridotite source with chondritic REE abundances, then REE geochemistry requires very small (less than 1%) degrees of melting to explain the minettes. Alternatively, the minettes could have formed by a larger degree of melting of a metasomatized, relatively light REE-enriched garnet peridotite. The important role of phlogopite and apatite in the differentiation of the minettes supports this latter hypothesis.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael F. Roden
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Geoalchemy, Department of Earth and Planetary SciencesMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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