Unexpectedly high-PGE chromitite from the deeper mantle section of the northern Oman ophiolite and its tectonic implications
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Unusually high, platinum-group element (PGE) enrichments are reported for the first time in a podiform chromitite of the northern Oman ophiolite. The chromitite contains ≤1.5 ppm of total PGE, being highly enriched in the IPGE subgroup (Ir, Os and Ru) and strongly depleted in the PPGE subgroup (Rh, Pt and Pd). Its platinum-group minerals (PGMs) are classified into three types arranged in order of abundance: (1) sulphides (Os-rich laurite, laurite–erlishmanite solid solution and an unnamed Ir sulphide), (2) alloys (Os–Ir alloy and Ir–Rh alloy), and (3) sulpharsenides (irarsite and hollingworthite). The high PGE concentrations are observed only in a discordant chromitite deep in the mantle section, which has high-Cr# (>0.7) spinel with an olivine matrix. All the other types of chromitite (in the Moho transition zone (MTZ) and concordant pods in the deeper mantle section) are poor in PGEs and tend to have spinels with lower Cr# (up to 0.6). This diversity of chromitite types suggests two stages of magmatic activity were responsible for the chromitite genesis, in response to a switch of tectonic setting. The first is residual from lower degree, partial melting of peridotite, which produced low-Cr#, PGE-poor chromitites at the Moho transition zone and, to a lesser extent, within the mantle, possibly beneath a fast-spreading mid-ocean ridge. The second chromitite-forming event involves higher degree partial melting, which produced high-Cr#, PGE-rich discordant chromitite in the upper mantle, possibly in a supra-subduction zone setting.
KeywordsOlivine Partial Melting Mantle Section Degree Partial Melting Podiform Chromitite
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