Occurrence, chemistry, and origin of immiscible silicate glasses in a tholeiitic basalt: A TEM/AEM study

Research paper by Lung -Chuan Kuo, Jung H. Lee, Eric J. Essene, Donald R. Peacor

Indexed on: 01 Sep '86Published on: 01 Sep '86Published in: Contributions to mineralogy and petrology. Beitrage zur Mineralogie und Petrologie


The occurrence and chemistry of immiscible silicate glasses in a tholeiite mesostasis from the Umtanum formation, Washington, were investigated with transmission electron microscopy and analytical electron microscopy (TEM/AEM). TEM observation reveals isolated, dark globules (2.1 micron or less in diameter) randomly distributed in a transparent matrix glass interstitial to plagioclase laths. The globules less than 0.3 micron and larger than 0.8 micron fall beyond the linear relationship defined by the 0.3–0.8 micron globules in a plot of the logarithm of number versus size. Large globules (0.7 micron or larger in diameter) range from homogeneous to heterogeneous in optical properties and chemistry. Homogeneous globules are completely glassy, whereas heterogeneous globules contain crystalline domains. AEM analyses show that the globules have high Si, Fe, Ca, and Ti with subordinate Mg, Al, P, S, Cl, K, and Mn, which gives high normative fa, px, il, and ap. The matrix glass consists dominantly of Si with low Al and minor Na and K, yielding a high normative qz, or, ab, and an.It is proposed that the silicate liquid immiscibility occurs by reaction of network-modifying cations (NMCs) with dominantly chain-like anionic units in the parental melt to form less polymerized, NMC-bearing units and highly polymerized, Si-rich units. The globules nucleated metastably under supercooled conditions, and medium-size globules become either larger or smaller at lower temperatures. Internal nucleation of NMC-rich phases occurred in some larger globules upon cooling.