Origin of ultramafic xenoliths containing exsolved pyroxenes from Hualalai Volcano, Hawaii

Research paper by Wendy A. Bohrson, David A. Clague

Indexed on: 01 Oct '88Published on: 01 Oct '88Published in: Contributions to mineralogy and petrology. Beitrage zur Mineralogie und Petrologie


Hualalai Volcano, Hawaii, is best known for the abundant and varied xenoliths included in the historic 1800 Kaupulehu alkalic basalt flow. Xenoliths, which range in composition from dunite to anorthosite, are concentrated at 915-m elevation in the flow. Rare cumulate ultramafic xenoliths, which include websterite, olivine websterite, wehrlite, and clinopyroxenite, display complex pyroxene exsolution textures that indicate slow cooling. Websterite, olivine websterite, and one wehrlite are spinel-bearing orthopyroxene +olivine cumulates with intercumulus clinopyroxene +plagioclase. Two wehrlite samples and clinopyroxenite are spinel-bearing olivine cumulates with intercumulus clinopyroxene+orthopyroxene + plagioclase. Two-pyroxene geothermometry calculations, based on reconstructed pyroxene compositions, indicate that crystallization temperatures range from 1225° to 1350° C. Migration or unmixing of clinopyroxene and orthopyroxene stopped between 1045° and 1090° C. Comparisons of the abundance of K2O in plagioclase and the abundances of TiO2 and Fe2O3in spinel of xenoliths and mid-ocean ridge basalt, and a single 87Sr/ 86Sr determination, indicate that these Hualalai xenoliths are unrelated to mid-ocean ridge basalt. Similarity between the crystallization sequence of these xenoliths and the experimental crystallization sequence of a Hawaiian olivine tholeiite suggest that the parental magma of the xenoliths is Hualalai tholeiitic basalt. Xenoliths probably crystallized between about 4.5 and 9 kb. The 155°–230° C of cooling which took place over about 120 ka — the age of the youngest Hualalai tholeiitic basalt — yield maximum cooling rates of 1.3×10−3–1.91×10−3 °C/yr. Hualalai ultramafic xenoliths with exsolved pyroxenes crystallized from Hualalai tholeiitic basalt and accumulated in a magma reservoir located between 13 and 28 km below sealevel. We suspect that this reservoir occurs just below the base of the oceanic crust at about 19 km below sealevel.