Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 113, Issue 2, pp 143–166 | Cite as

Experimental investigations of the role of H2O in calc-alkaline differentiation and subduction zone magmatism

  • T. W. Sisson
  • T. L. Grove


Phase relations of natural aphyric high-alumina basalts and their intrusive equivalents were determined through rock-melting experiments at 2 kb, H2O-saturated with fO2 buffered at NNO. Experimental liquids are low-MgO high-alumina basalt or basaltic andesite, and most are saturated with olivine, calcic plagioclase, and either high-calcium pyroxene or hornblende (±magnetite). Cr-spinel or magnetite appear near the liquidus of wet high-alumina basalts because H2O lowers the appearance temperature of crystalline silicates but has a lesser effect on spinel. As a consequence, experimental liquids follow calcalkaline differentiation trends. Hornblende stability is sensitive to the Na2O content of the bulk composition as well as to H2O content, with the result that hornblende can form as a near liquidus mineral in wet sodic basalts, but does not appear until liquids reach andesitic compositions in moderate Na2O basalts. Therefore, the absence of hornblende in basalts with low-to-moderate Na2O contents is not evidence that those basalts are nearly dry. Very calcic plagioclase (>An90) forms from basaltic melts with high H2O contents but cannot form from dry melts with normal are Na2O and CaO abundances. The presence of anorthite-rich plagioclase in high-alumina basalts indicates high magmatic H2O contents. In sum, moderate pressure H2O-saturated phase relations show that magmatic H2O leads to the early crystallization of spinel, produces calcic plagioclase, and reduces the total proportion of plagioclase in the crystallizing assemblage, thereby promoting the development of the calc-alkaline differentiation trend.


Olivine Subduction Zone Basaltic Andesite Na2O Content Experimental Liquid 
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© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. W. Sisson
    • 1
  • T. L. Grove
    • 1
  1. 1.Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary SciencesMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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