Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 108, Issue 4, pp 533–549 | Cite as

Podiform chromitite formation in a low-Cr/high-Al system: An example from the Southwest Indian Ridge (SWIR)

  • Betchaida D. PayotEmail author
  • Shoji Arai
  • Henry J. B. Dick
  • Natsue Abe
  • Yuji Ichiyama
Original Paper


Recent reassessment of abyssal peridotites obtained during the dredging of the oblique supersegment and the easternmost subsection of the Southwest Indian Ridge by the R/V Knorr Cruise 162 and the R/V Yokosuka YK98-07 revealed the occurrence of dunites containing podiform chromitites and dunites with variable chromite concentration closely associated with lherzolite and harzburgite. The size of the chromitite pods varies from a few mm to 2 cm in width. Chromites in the podifom chromitites have very low Cr# (=0.22–0.23) and low TiO2 (<0.17 wt%). They are almost free of silicate inclusions except for a few euhedral sulfide grains which occur far from cracks and lamellae and are considered primary in origin. The lherzolite which possibly represents the wallrock hosting the dunites with podiform chromitites also show low spinel Cr#(=0.16) and low Cr# in the clinopyroxenes (=0.09–0.10) and orthopyroxenes (=0.07–0.09). The small size of the SWIR podiform chromitites is strongly controlled by the low Cr/Al available in the wallrock and the invading melt. The presence of sulfide inclusions and the absence of PGEs further attest to the low Cr/Al (i.e. low refractoriness) in the system involved in the genesis of the SWIR podiform chromitites. Lastly, the discovery of podiform chromitites in the SWIR implies that the formation of podiform chromitite at mid-oceanic ridges, regardless of its spreading rate, is highly possible.


Olivine Chromite Sulfide Inclusion Chromian Spinel Base Metal Sulfide 
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.



We are grateful to Prof. Tomoaki Morishita and Mr. Makoto Miura of Kanazawa University for their assistance in the electron microprobe analysis. We would also like to thank Dr. Noelynna T. Ramos of the UP-NIGS for her assistance in generating the relief map (Fig. 1) by GMT. Editorial handling and comments by Prof. J.G. Raith and an anonymous reviewer helped improve this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Betchaida D. Payot
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Shoji Arai
    • 1
  • Henry J. B. Dick
    • 3
  • Natsue Abe
    • 4
  • Yuji Ichiyama
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesKanazawa UniversityKanazawaJapan
  2. 2.National Institute of Geological SciencesUniversity of the PhilippinesDilimanPhilippines
  3. 3.Department of Marine Geology and GeophysicsWoods Hole Oceanographic InstitutionWoods HoleUSA
  4. 4.Institute for Research on Earth EvolutionJapan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and TechnologyYokosukaJapan
  5. 5.Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and TechnologyKochi Core CenterKochiJapan

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