Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 100, Issue 3–4, pp 185–200 | Cite as

Deep solid-state equilibration and deep melting of plagioclase-free spinel peridotite from the slow-spreading Mid-Atlantic Ridge, ODP Leg 153

  • Thomas M. WillEmail author
  • Esther Schmädicke
  • Hartwig E. Frimmel
Original Paper


A petrological investigation of abyssal, plagioclase-free spinel peridotite drilled during ODP cruise 153 in the North Atlantic revealed that the peridotite represent refractory, partial residual mantle material that experienced depletion of incompatible trace elements during upper mantle melting. The degree of partial melting as estimated from spinel compositions was c. 12%. Fractionated middle and heavy rare earth elements imply polybaric melting, with c. 1–4% initial melting in the garnet peridotite stability field and subsequent partial melting of ~7–10% in the spinel peridotite stability field. Geothermobarometric investigations revealed that the solid-state equilibration of the spinel peridotite occurred at some 1,100–1,150°C and c. 20–23 kbar, corresponding to an equilibration depth of c. 70 ± 5 km and an unusually low thermal gradient of some 11–17°C/km. A thermal re-equilibration of the peridotite occurred at ~850–1,000°C at similar depths. Naturally, the initial mantle melting in the garnet-peridotite stability field must have commenced at depths greater than 70 ± 5 km. It is likely that the residual peridotite rose rapidly through the lithospheric cap towards the ridge axis. The exhumation of the abyssal peridotite occurred, at least in parts, via extensional detachment faulting. Given the shallow to moderate dip angles of the fault surfaces, the exhumation of the peridotite from its equilibration depth would imply an overall ridge-normal horizontal displacement of c. 50–160 km if tectonic stretching and detachment faulting were the sole exhumation mechanism.


Olivine Detachment Fault Sample 920D Spinel Peridotite Ridge Axis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The research used samples provided by the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP). ODP is sponsored by funding agencies of the participating countries under management of the Joint Oceanographic Institutions (JOI). This project was supported by a grant from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, which is gratefully acknowledged. Peter Späthe is thanked for the superb thin section preparation, and Uli Schüssler for his help with the microprobe work at the University of Würzburg. Helene Brätz performed the LA-ICP-MS measurements at the University of Erlangen. Walter Hale (ODP core repository, Bremen) is thanked not only for his assistance with sampling at the repository but also for his great help in finding accommodation in Bremen when all hotel rooms were booked out. B. Evans and M. Okrusch are thanked for their reviews and J. Raith for editorial handling.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas M. Will
    • 1
    Email author
  • Esther Schmädicke
    • 2
  • Hartwig E. Frimmel
    • 1
  1. 1.Geodynamics and Geomaterials Research DivisionUniversity of WürzburgWürzburgGermany
  2. 2.GeoZentrum NordbayernUniversity of Erlangen-NürnbergErlangenGermany

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