Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 161, Issue 1, pp 153–173 | Cite as

Crystal growth during dike injection of MOR basaltic melts: evidence from preservation of local Sr disequilibria in plagioclase

  • Georg F. ZellmerEmail author
  • Kenneth H. Rubin
  • Peter Dulski
  • Yoshiyuki Iizuka
  • Steven L. Goldstein
  • Michael R. Perfit
Original Paper


Profiles of a total of 23 plagioclase crystals erupted within the 1982–1991 and 1993 flows of the Coaxial segment of the Juan de Fuca ridge, the 1996 flow of the North Gorda ridge, and from the Western Volcanic Zone of the ultra-slow spreading Gakkel Ridge, have been studied for variations in major and trace element concentrations. We derive equilibration times for the relatively rapidly diffusing Sr in mid-ocean ridge basalt (MORB) plagioclase crystals of the order of months to a few years in each case. All crystals preserve diffusive disequilibria of strontium and barium. Crystal residence times at MORB magmatic temperatures are thus significantly shorter, of the order of days to a few months at most, precluding prolonged crystal storage in axial magma chambers and instead pointing to rapid crystal growth (up to ~10−8 cm s−1) and cooling (up to ~1°C h−1) shortly prior to eruption of these samples. Growth of these crystals is therefore inferred to occur almost entirely within oceanic layer 2 during dike injection. Crystals that grew at lower crustal levels or earlier in the differentiation sequence appear to have been excluded from the erupted magmas, as might occur if most of the gabbroic rocks in oceanic layer 3 formed an interlocking crystal framework, with viscosities that are too high to carry earlier formed crystals with the melt. The vertical extent of eruptible, crystal-poor melt lenses within the gabbroic zone is constrained to ~1 m or less by considering the width of local equilibrium growth zones, equilibration times, and crystal settling velocities. This lengthscale is consistent with field evidence from ophiolites. Finally, crystal aggregates within the Gakkel ridge sample studied here are the result of synneusis within the propagating dike during melt ascent.


Partitioning Diffusion Axial magma chamber Dike injection Synneusis 



GFZ acknowledges insightful communications with Daniel Morgan, Matthew Smith, and Steve Sparks, and is grateful to Jörg Erzinger for his hospitality and support at the GeoForschungZentrum. Earlier versions of this paper have been significantly improved by the constructive comments of Fidel Costa and two anonymous reviewers. We thank Michael Wiedenbeck for access to the AMNH feldspar standard during the analytical work in Potsdam. The NOAA Undersea Research Program and the National Science Foundation provided generous support for the Alvin and Jason dives. The research was funded by grants of the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC 95-2116-M-001-006, 96-2116-M-001-006, and 97-2628-M-001-027-MY2) and the Institute of Earth Sciences, Academia Sinica, to GFZ. Furthermore, partial support was provided by NSF grants to KHR (OCE-0732761 and OCE-9905463) and MRP (OCE-0221541 and OCE-9530299).

Supplementary material

410_2010_518_MOESM1_ESM.eps (5.5 mb)
(a) Comparison of plagioclase anorthite contents determined by electron probe microanalysis (EPMA) and by stoichiometric considerations using the laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICPMS) data from 7 selected crystals. Points between the two dashed lines are within the combined analytical uncertainties of each technique. Occasional inconsistencies can be explained through small scale heterogeneities: These include progressive sampling of lower lying growth zones of different composition by LA-ICPMS as ablation proceeds, depicted in (b), where the Na signal increases with ablation time; and rapid lateral compositional changes within the crystal, e.g. towards the rim, depicted in (c), where circles represent the LA-ICPMS data and the line connects EPMA data points. Elemental concentration maps are provided for the crystals in which inconsistencies occur, with warmer colours indicating higher Na concentration. See text for discussion (EPS 5617 kb)
410_2010_518_MOESM2_ESM.eps (3.1 mb)
Assessing intracrystalline disequilibria of plagioclase crystals from sample JdF 2792-4R in terms of strontium. Notation as in Figure 2 (EPS 3187 kb)
410_2010_518_MOESM3_ESM.eps (3.8 mb)
Assessing intracrystalline disequilibria of plagioclase crystals from sample JdF 2794-2R in terms of strontium. Notation as in Figure 2 (EPS 3874 kb)
410_2010_518_MOESM4_ESM.eps (3.5 mb)
Assessing intracrystalline disequilibria of plagioclase crystals from sample Gorda W9604-C3 in terms of strontium. Notation as in Figure 2 (EPS 3589 kb)
410_2010_518_MOESM5_ESM.eps (2.5 mb)
Assessing intracrystalline disequilibria of plagioclase crystals from sample Gakkel D27-16 in terms of strontium. Notation as in Figure 2 (EPS 2588 kb)
410_2010_518_MOESM6_ESM.xls (74 kb)
(XLS 73 kb)


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© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Georg F. Zellmer
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Kenneth H. Rubin
    • 3
  • Peter Dulski
    • 4
  • Yoshiyuki Iizuka
    • 1
  • Steven L. Goldstein
    • 2
  • Michael R. Perfit
    • 5
  1. 1.Institute of Earth SciencesAcademia SinicaTaipeiTaiwan, ROC
  2. 2.Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia UniversityPalisadesUSA
  3. 3.Department of Geology and Geophysics, SOESTUniversity of Hawaii at ManoaHonoluluUSA
  4. 4.Section 3.3, GFZ German Research Centre for GeosciencesHelmholtz Centre PotsdamPotsdamGermany
  5. 5.Department of Geological SciencesUniversity of FloridaGainsvilleUSA

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