Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 155, Issue 3, pp 295–312 | Cite as

Trace element chemistry and U–Pb dating of zircons from oceanic gabbros and their relationship with whole rock composition (Lanzo, Italian Alps)

  • M.-A. Kaczmarek
  • O. Müntener
  • D. Rubatto
Original Paper


The U–Pb ages and the trace element content of zircon U–Pb along with major and trace element whole rock data on gabbroic dikes from the Lanzo lherzolitic massif, N-Italy, have been determined to constrain crustal accretion in ocean–continent transition zones. Three Fe–Ti gabbros were dated from the central and the southern part of the massif providing middle Jurassic ages of 161 ± 2, 158 ± 2 and 163 ± 1 Ma, which argue for magmatic activity over few millions of years. Zircon crystals are characterized by high but variable Th/U ratios, rare earth element patterns enriched in heavy rare earths, pronounced positive Ce and negative Eu-anomalies consistent with crystallization after substantial plagioclase fractionation. The zircon trace element composition coupled with whole rock chemistry was used to reconstruct the crystallization history of the gabbros. A number of gabbros crystallized in situ, and zircon precipitated from trapped, intercumulus liquid, while other gabbros represent residual liquids that were extracted from a cumulus pile and crystallized along syn-magmatic shear zones. We propose a model in which the emplacement mechanism of gabbroic rocks in ocean–continent transition zones evolves from in situ crystallization to stratified crystallization with efficient extraction of residual liquid along syn-magmatic shear zones. Such an evolution of the crystallization history is probably related to the thermal evolution of the underlying mantle lithosphere.


Zircon Oxyde gabbros Trace element geochemistry Peridotite Lanzo massif Piemont–Ligurian ocean SHRIMP U–Pb dating 



We thank V. Serneels for helping with the XRF analyses and A. Ulianov for LA-ICP-MS analyses of whole rock glasses. Comments from two reviewers improved the final version of the manuscript. The Electron Microscopy Unit at the Australian National University provided for access to the CL facility. This research was financially supported by the Swiss National Foundation (Project 21–66923.01 and 200020-104636/1).

Supplementary material

410_2007_243_MOESM1_ESM.xls (31 kb)
eTable 1: XRF major and trace element analyses of basalts and gabbros. Basalts (L132a, La2005-7), rodiginte (L124a), ferro–gabbro with zircon (L165, A71b, A91a), amphibole-gabbro (La2005-6), olivine-gabbro (L13g, Mu6, A16), meta-troctolite (L44a) and leuco-troctolite (La2002-4), and plagiogranite (V16). For Zr analyzed by XRF, values below 10ppm are considered unreliable. In Fig. 4b, we used data from laser ablation ICP-MS (Zr*) (XLS 31 kb)
410_2007_243_MOESM2_ESM.xls (25 kb)
eTable 2: Trace element composition of basalts and gabbros measurements by LA-ICP-MS. Abbreviations as in eTable 1 (XLS 25 kb)
410_2007_243_MOESM3_ESM.xls (46 kb)
eTable 3:Trace element compositions of zircons measured by LA-ICP-MS from ferro–gabbro samples (L165, A71 and A91) (XLS 45 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of GeologyUniversity of NeuchâtelNeuchâtelSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of Mineralogy and GeochemistryUniversity of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland
  3. 3.Research School of Earth SciencesThe Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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