An experimental investigation of Iceland and Reykjanes Ridge tholeiites: I. Phase relations

Document Type


Date of Original Version



Tholeiite basalts from 60° N to 65° N on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge were melted and recrystallized at atmospheric pressure in a CO2-H2 gas mixture. Seven basalts are from the Langjokull-Thingvellir volcanic zone and the Reykjanes Peninsula of Iceland and nine are from the Reykjanes Ridge. The crystallization sequence in both Iceland and Reykjanes Ridge basalts with (Total Fe as FeO)/(Total Fe as FeO+ MgO) [F/F + M] less than 0.6 is olivine, plagioclase, clinopyroxene. Chromian spinel crystallizes before plagioclase in one Iceland and one Reykjanes Ridge basalt with F/F+M less than 0.57. Chemical differences of the two groups of basalts (lower SiO2 and higher alkalis in Iceland basalts) can not simply be a result of low pressure fractional crystallization. Liquidus temperatures of the seven Iceland basalts decreases from 1,230° C to 1,170° C as the F/F+M of the rock increases from 0.52 to 0.70. The liquidus temperatures of the Reykjanes Ridge basalts are about 10° C lower than those of the Iceland basalts for the same F/F+M value. The profile of measured liquidus temperatures from 65° N on Iceland to 60° N on the Reykjanes Ridge has a minimum value at 63.2° N on the Reykjanes Ridge just south of Iceland. Model calculations of the pressure of phenocryst crystallization indicate that olivine and plagioclase in Langjokull basalts could have equilibrated between 2.0 and 6.2 kb (200 to 620 MPa). Phenocryst assemblages in Reykjanes Ridge basalts at 60° N could have crystallized together at greater than 2 kb (200 MPa) and probably less than 8 kb (800 MPa). A minimum in the equilibrium pressure of phenocryst crystallization occurs between 62.9° and 64° N and coincides with the minimum in the experimentally determined liquidus temperatures. The more extensive fractionation at low pressure in this area could be related to the shift of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge axis along the leaky transform fault from the Reykjanes Ridge to the Thingvellir volcanic zone. © 1980 Springer-Verlag.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology