SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Abstract Detailed analysis of cumulate and melt inclusion assemblages in the chassignites provide important constraints on the nature of the melt trapped as inclusions in cumulus olivine (and, by extension, parental magma compositions), the pressures of crystallization, and magmatic volatile contents. These mineral assemblages show strong similarities to the experimental fractionation assemblages that produce the sodic silica-saturated alkalic lavas on Earth (e.g., Ascension Island, Azores, the Nandewar volcano of Australia). The experimental assemblages were produced from silica-saturated hawaiite at pressures above 4.3 kbar with dissolved water contents above 0.5 wt%. Such pressures are consistent with Ti:Al ratios of the melt-inclusion pyroxenes in the Chassigny meteorite. Pyroxene compositions suggest early high crystallization temperatures and thus relatively low initial water and F contents. Feldspars indicate that melt evolution proceeded to rhyolite compositions both within the interstices of the cumulate olivine and within the melt inclusions, even though rhyolitic glass is only found within olivine-hosted polyphase melt inclusions. The observed rhyolite glass is compositionally similar to the alkali-rich rhyolite of Ascension Island which is produced experimentally by crystallization of hawaiite. It is proposed that the melt trapped in cumulus olivine of the Chassigny dunite was similar to a terrestrial silica-saturated hawaiite, while that trapped in olivine of the Northwest Africa (NWA) 2727 dunite was less evolved, perhaps mildly alkalic basalt. Melts similar to terrestrial intra-plate tholeiite could be parental to the cumulus minerals and evolve upon crystallization at pressures above 4.3 kbar and water contents above ˜0.4 wt% to mildly alkalic basalt, silica-saturated hawaiite, and alkali-rich rhyolite. The melt inclusion assemblages are inconsistent with either crystallization of a low-Al, high-Fe basalt, or low-pressure crystallization of a terrestrial-like tholeiite.