International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 98, Issue 5, pp 985–999 | Cite as

Multi-stage zeolite facies mineralization in the Hvalfjördur area, Iceland

  • Tobias WeisenbergerEmail author
  • Rune S. Selbekk
Original Paper


The Hvalfjördur area, 30 km north of Iceland’s capital Reykjavik, belongs to the sequence of Late Tertiary to early Quaternary flood basalts with minor intercalations of hyaloclastites and rhyolites. The basalts are affected by progressive low-temperature metamorphism, caused by the burial of the lava succession and higher heat flow from nearby central volcanoes. Low-grade zeolite facies metamorphism of basaltic lavas in the Hvalfjördur area results in two distinct mineral parageneses that can be correlated to events in the burial and hydrothermal history of the lava pile. Stage Ia represents syn-eruptive near-surface alteration in which celadonite and silica were precipitated along primary pores. During regional burial metamorphism (stage Ib), hydrolysis of olivine and glass led to the formation of mixed-layer chlorite/smectite clays. The chlorite content of stage Ib phyllosilicate vesicle rims increases with increasing burial depth and temperature. Stage II occurred after the burial and is marked by zeolite mineralization caused by higher heat flow from the Laxárvogur and Hvalfjördur central volcanoes. Altogether 11 different zeolites were found in the Hvalfjördur area: analcime, chabazite, epistilbite, heulandite, laumontite, levyne, mesolite, stilbite, stellerite, thomsonite and yugawaralite. In total, three separate depth and temperature-controlled “zeolite zones” occur in the Hvalfjördur area.


Iceland Zeolite facies Low-grade metamorphism Mafic phyllosilicate Basalt 



We would like to thank the Icelandic Institute of Natural History and Kristján Jónasson for permission to collect and export the rock and mineral samples. Special thanks to the technicians and staff of the Mineralogical-Geochemical Institute, University of Freiburg: I. Schmidt for her help during sample preparation and for the XRD analysis; M. Katt for the preparation of thin sections; Dr. H. Müller-Sigmund for her useful advise during EMP analysis and her patience and time spent with us at the electron microprobe. We are grateful to R. Trönnes, D. L. Bruton, and J. Majzlan for their comments on the manuscript. We would also like to thank Hermann and Birna from Hjalli, and Peter Danielsen for their help and hospitality in Iceland. The manuscript benefited from the critical reviews by P. Neuhoff and N. Stroncik.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mineralogisch-Geochemisches InstitutAlbert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg i. BrFreiburgGermany
  2. 2.Natural History Museum, GeologyUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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