Formation of thick stratiform Fe-Ti oxide layers in layered intrusion and frequent replenishment of fractionated mafic magma: Evidence from the Panzhihua intrusion, SW China



[1] The Panzhihua intrusion is one of the largest layered intrusions that hosts huge stratiform Fe-Ti oxide layers in the central part of the Emeishan large igneous province, SW China. Up to 60 m thick stratiform massive Fe-Ti oxide layers containing ~85 modal% of magnetite and ilmenite and overlying magnetite gabbro compose cyclic units of the Lower Zone of the intrusion. The cyclic units of the Middle Zone consist of magnetite gabbro and overlying gabbro. In these cyclic units, contents of Fe2O3(t), TiO2 and Cr and Fe3+/Ti4+ ratio of the rocks decrease upward, Cr content of magnetite and forsterite percentage of olivine decrease as well. The Upper Zone consists of apatite gabbro characterized by enrichment of incompatible elements (e.g., 12–18 ppm La, 20–28 ppm Y) and increasing of Fe3+/Ti4+ ratio (from 1.3 to 2.3) upward. These features indicate that the Panzhihua intrusion was repeatedly recharged by more primitive magma and evolved magmas had been extracted. Calculations using MELTS indicate that extensive fractionation of olivine and clinopyroxene in deep level resulted in increasing Fe and Ti contents in the magma. When these Fe-Ti-enriched magmas were emplaced along the base of the Panzhihua intrusion, Fe-Ti oxides became an early crystallization phase, leading to a residual magma of lower density. We propose that the unusually thick stratiform Fe-Ti oxide layers resulted from coupling of gravity settling and sorting of the crystallized Fe-Ti oxides from Fe-Ti-enriched magmas and frequent magma replenishment along the floor of the magma chamber.