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Petrology of basalts from the Mohns-Knipovich Ridge; the Norwegian-Greenland Sea

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Abstract

Major element compositions of submarine basalts, quenched glasses, and contained phenocrysts are reported for samples from 25 dredge stations along the Mohns-Knipovich Ridge between the Jan Mayen fracture zone and 77°30′N. Most of the basalts collected on the Jan Mayen platform have a subaerial appearance, are nepheline normative, rich in incompatible elements, and have REE-patterns strongly enriched in light-REE. The other basalts (with one exception) are tholeiitic pillow basalts, many of which have fresh quenched glass rims. From the Jan Mayen platform northeastwards the phenocryst assemblage changes from olivine±plagioclase±clinopyroxene±magnetite to olivine +plagioclase±chrome-spinel. This change is accompanied by a progressive decrease in the content of incompatible elements, light-REE enrichments and elevation of the ridge that are similar to those observed south of the Azores and Iceland hotspots. Pillow basalts and glasses collected along the esternmost part of the Mohns Ridge (450 to 675 km east of Jan Mayen) have low K2O, TiO2, and P2O5 contents, light-REE depleted patterns relative to chondrites, and Mg/(Mg+Fe2+) ratios between 0.64 and 0.60. Pillow basalts and glasses from the Knipovich Ridge have similar (Mg/Mg+Fe2+) ratios, but along the entire ridge have slightly higher concentrations of incompatible elements and chondritic to slightly light-REE enriched patterns. The incompatible element enrichment increases slightly northward. Plagioclase phenocrysts show normal and reverse zoning on all parts of the ridge whereas olivines are unzoned or show only weak normal zoning. Olivine-liquid equilibrium temperatures are calculated to be in the range of 1,060–1,206° C with a mean around 1,180° C.

Rocks and glasses collected on the Jan Mayen Platform are compositionally similar to Jan Mayen volcanic products, suggesting that off-ridge alkali volcanism on the Jan Mayen Platform is more widespread than so far suspected. There is also evidence to suggest that the alkali basalts from the Jan Mayen Platform are derived from deeper levels and by smaller degrees of partial melting of a mantle significantly more enriched in light-REE and other incompatible elements than are the tholeiitic basalts from the Eastern Mohns and Knipovich Ridge. The possibility of the presence of another hitherto unsuspected enriched mantle region north of 77° 30′ N is also briefly considered.

It remains uncertain whether geochemical gradients revealed in this study reflect: (1) the dynamics of mixing during mantle advection and magma emplacement into the crust along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) spreading axis, (e.g. such as in the mantle plume — large-ion-lithophile element depleted asthenosphere mixing model previously proposed); or (2) a horizontal gradation of the mantle beneath the MAR axis similar to that observed in the overlying crust; or (3) a vertical gradation of the mantle in incompatible elements with their contents increasing with depth and derivations of melts from progressively greater depth towards the Jan Mayen Platform.

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Neumann, ER., Schilling, JG. Petrology of basalts from the Mohns-Knipovich Ridge; the Norwegian-Greenland Sea. Contr. Mineral. and Petrol. 85, 209–223 (1984). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00378101

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