Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 163, Issue 2, pp 189–208 | Cite as

Cumulate xenoliths from St. Vincent, Lesser Antilles Island Arc: a window into upper crustal differentiation of mantle-derived basalts

  • P. M. E. TollanEmail author
  • I. Bindeman
  • J. D. Blundy
Original Paper


In order to shed light on upper crustal differentiation of mantle-derived basaltic magmas in a subduction zone setting, we have determined the mineral chemistry and oxygen and hydrogen isotope composition of individual cumulus minerals in plutonic blocks from St. Vincent, Lesser Antilles. Plutonic rock types display great variation in mineralogy, from olivine–gabbros to troctolites and hornblendites, with a corresponding variety of cumulate textures. Mineral compositions differ from those in erupted basaltic lavas from St. Vincent and in published high-pressure (4–10 kb) experimental run products of a St. Vincent high-Mg basalt in having higher An plagioclase coexisting with lower Fo olivine. The oxygen isotope compositions (δ18O) of cumulus olivine (4.89–5.18‰), plagioclase (5.84–6.28‰), clinopyroxene (5.17–5.47‰) and hornblende (5.48–5.61‰) and hydrogen isotope composition of hornblende (δD = −35.5 to −49.9‰) are all consistent with closed system magmatic differentiation of a mantle-derived basaltic melt. We employed a number of modelling exercises to constrain the origin of the chemical and isotopic compositions reported. δ18OOlivine is up to 0.2‰ higher than modelled values for closed system fractional crystallisation of a primary melt. We attribute this to isotopic disequilibria between cumulus minerals crystallising at different temperatures, with equilibration retarded by slow oxygen diffusion in olivine during prolonged crustal storage. We used melt inclusion and plagioclase compositions to determine parental magmatic water contents (water saturated, 4.6 ± 0.5 wt% H2O) and crystallisation pressures (173 ± 50 MPa). Applying these values to previously reported basaltic and basaltic andesite lava compositions, we can reproduce the cumulus plagioclase and olivine compositions and their associated trend. We conclude that differentiation of primitive hydrous basalts on St. Vincent involves crystallisation of olivine and Cr-rich spinel at depth within the crust, lowering MgO and Cr2O3 and raising Al2O3 and CaO of residual melt due to suppression of plagioclase. Low density, hydrous basaltic and basaltic andesite melts then ascend rapidly through the crust, stalling at shallow depth upon water saturation where crystallisation of the chemically distinct cumulus phases observed in this study can occur. Deposited crystals armour the shallow magma chamber where oxygen isotope equilibration between minerals is slowly approached, before remobilisation and entrainment by later injections of magma.


St. Vincent Lesser Antilles Oxygen Hydrogen Isotopes Cumulates Differentiation Fractional Crystallisation Disequilibrium 



JDB acknowledges research funding from the Leverhulme Trust (F/00182/AY) and European Research Council (247162-CRITMAG). We would like to thank S. Kearns for help with Bristol electron microprobe, J. Palandri for assistance with stable isotope analyses and J. Fawcett-Thorne for thin section preparation. PMET would like to thank E. Melekhova and R. Arculus for constructive discussions. Reviews by E. Martin and M. Portnyagin were gratefully received.

Supplementary material

410_2011_665_MOESM1_ESM.doc (92 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 92 kb)
410_2011_665_MOESM2_ESM.doc (226 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOC 226 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. M. E. Tollan
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • I. Bindeman
    • 2
  • J. D. Blundy
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of BristolBristolUK
  2. 2.Department of Geological SciencesUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA
  3. 3.Department of Earth SciencesDurham UniversityDurhamUK

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