Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 166, Issue 2, pp 471–490 | Cite as

Multiple ways of producing intermediate and silicic rocks within Thingmúli and other Icelandic volcanoes

  • Gilles Charreteur
  • Christian TegnerEmail author
  • Karsten Haase
Original Paper


Major and trace element compositions of rocks and coexisting phenocrysts of the Thingmúli volcano suggest a revision of the existing models for the formation of intermediate and silicic melts in Iceland. The new data define two compositional tholeiitic trends with a significant gap between them. A high-iron trend (HFe) contains 6–14 wt% total FeO in silicic rocks with c. 1 wt% MgO, as well as sodic plagioclase and hedenbergite phenocrysts. A low-iron trend (LFe) contains 3–5 wt% FeO at c. 1 wt% MgO, which is typical of Iceland but higher than MORB compositions. The most evolved phenocrysts of the LFe trend do not reach iron-rich end members. The HFe trend is interpreted as a result of fractional crystallization; numerical modelling using the MELTS algorithm suggests that crystallization took place under redox conditions constrained to one-log unit below the fayalite-magnetite-quartz oxygen buffer (FMQ-1). The LFe trend is explained by a combination of mixing between rhyolite and ferrobasalt, assimilation of hydrated crust and fractional crystallization under higher redox conditions (FMQ). The two trends and the gap are best defined in a plot of Mg# versus SiO2 that is useful to unravel petrogenetic processes. For example, intermediate and silicic rocks of the Holocene volcanic systems of spreading rifts (e.g. Krafla), propagating rifts (e.g. Hekla) and off-rifts (Öræfajökull) also fall into high- and low-iron fields and outline a gap similar to Thingmúli. The identification of two compositional trends in erupted intermediate and silicic volcanic products shows that processes in the deep roots of single volcanic systems are highly diverse and likely controlled by local variations in the thermal gradients and the extend of hydrothermal alteration. Generalizations about the relationship between the compositions of intermediate and silicic rocks and plate tectonic setting, therefore, should be avoided.


Thingmuli volcano Iceland Rhyolite Basalt Intermediate rocks Fractional crystallization Magma mixing 



Kristján E. Karlsson and Jakob K. Keiding are gratefully thanked for their help during fieldwork. We also thank Morten S. Riishuus, Erwan Hallot, Tod Waight, Valentin Troll and Peter Thy for their helpful comments on the manuscript. Funding from the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation, and from the Danish Natural Science Research Council is acknowledged. Journal reviews by Georg Zellmer and two anonymous reviewers and editorial handling by Jochen Hoefs improved the manuscript considerably and is appreciated.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 49 kb)
410_2013_886_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (76 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 75 kb)
410_2013_886_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (122 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (PDF 121 kb)
410_2013_886_MOESM4_ESM.pdf (81 kb)
Supplementary material 4 (PDF 81 kb)


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gilles Charreteur
    • 1
  • Christian Tegner
    • 1
    Email author
  • Karsten Haase
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of GeoscienceAarhus UniversityAarhus CDenmark
  2. 2.GeoZentrum NordbayernUniversität Erlangen-NürnbergErlangenGermany

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