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The tectonically controlled emplacement of a vertically sheeted gabbro-pyroxenite intrusion: Feeder-zone of an ocean-island volcano (Fuerteventura, Canary Islands)

Abstract : The Miocene PX1 gabbro-pyroxenite pluton, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, is a 3.5 × 5.5 km shallow-level intrusion (0.15-0.2 GPa and 1100-1120 °C), interpreted as the feeder-zone to an ocean-island volcano. It displays a vertical magmatic banding expressed in five 50 to 100 metre-wide NNE-SSW trending alkaline gabbro sequences alternating with pyroxenites. This emplacement geometry was controlled by brittle to ductile shear zones, generated by a regional E-W extensional tectonic setting that affected Fuerteventura during the Miocene. At a smaller scale, the PX1 gabbro and pyroxenite bands consist of metre-thick differentiation units, which suggest emplacement by periodic injection of magma pulses as vertical dykes that amalgamated, similarly to a sub-volcanic sheeted dyke complex. Individual dykes underwent internal differentiation following a solidification front parallel to the dyke edges. This solidification front may have been favoured by a significant lateral/horizontal thermal gradient, expressed by the vertical banding in the gabbros, the fractionation asymmetry within individual dykes and the migmatisation of the wall rocks. Pyroxenitic layers result from the fractionation and accumulation of clinopyroxene ± olivine ± plagioclase crystals from a mildly alkaline basaltic liquid. They are interpreted as truncated differentiation sequences, from which residual melts were extracted at various stages of their chemical evolution by subsequent dyke intrusions, either next to or within the crystallising unit. Compaction and squeezing of the crystal mush is ascribed to the incoming and inflating magma pulses. The expelled interstitial liquid was likely collected and erupted along with the magma flowing through the newly injected dykes. Clinopyroxene mineral orientation - as evidenced by EBSD and micro X-ray tomography investigations - displays a marked pure-shear component, supporting the interpretation of the role of compaction in the generation of the pyroxenites. Conversely, gabbro sequences underwent minor melt extraction and are believed to represent crystallised coalesced magma batches emplaced at lower rates at the end of eruptive cycles. Clinopyroxene orientations in gabbros record a simple shear component suggesting syn-magmatic deformation parallel to observed NNE-SSW trending shear zones induced by the regional tensional stress field. This emplacement model implies a crystallisation time of 1 to 5 years for individual dykes, consistent with PX1 emplacement over less than 0.5 My. A minimum amount of approximately 150 km3 of magma is needed to generate the pluton, part of it having been erupted through the Central Volcanic Centre of Fuerteventura. If the regional extensional tectonic regime controls the PX1 feeder-zone initiation and overall geometry, rates and volumes of magma depend on other, source-related factors. High injection rates are likely to induce intrusion growth rates larger than could be accommodated by the regional extension. In this case, dyke intrusion by propagation of a weak tip, combined with the inability of magma to circulate through previously emplaced and crystallised dykes could result in an increase of non-lithostatic pressure on previously emplaced mushy dyke walls; thus generating strong pure-shear compaction within the pluton feeder-zone and interstitial melt expulsion. These compaction-dominated processes are recorded by the cumulitic pyroxenite bands.
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Submitted on : Thursday, March 15, 2012 - 10:01:43 AM
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J. Allibon, F. Bussy, Eric Lewin, B. Darbellay. The tectonically controlled emplacement of a vertically sheeted gabbro-pyroxenite intrusion: Feeder-zone of an ocean-island volcano (Fuerteventura, Canary Islands). Tectonophysics, Elsevier, 2011, 500 (1-4), pp. 78-97. ⟨10.1016/j.tecto.2010.01.011⟩. ⟨insu-00679204⟩



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