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Textures of Peritectic Crystals as Guides to Reactive Minerals in Magmatic Systems: New Insights from Melting Experiments

Abstract : Peritectic crystals in igneous rocks may be derived from either the source or country rocks, or may have formed by reactive assimilation of source-inherited solids, primary magmatic minerals during self- or magma mixing, or country-rock xenoliths or xenocrysts. Identifying such peritectic crystals is important for constraining the components and textures of igneous rocks and the underlying processes of magmatic evolution. In this study we demonstrate that peritectic olivine formed in melting experiments crystallizes as clusters of euhedral to subhedral crystals. Olivine replacing orthopyroxene, amphibole, and phlogopite forms crystal clusters with distinct crystal to melt ratios, 2D surface area, grain boundary segmentation, and inclusion relations. In our experiments the textures of peritectic crystals are primarily controlled by the stability temperature and decomposition rate of reactive minerals. High-temperature minerals such as orthopyroxene slowly decompose to form high-density clusters of large crystals with long grain boundary segments. The SiO2-rich peritectic melt produced favours formation of melt inclusions. Low-temperature minerals such as amphibole and phlogopite rapidly decompose to form low-density clusters of small crystals with short grain boundary segments. The relatively SiO2-poor peritectic melt produced results in the formation of fewer melt inclusions. Host melt composition has a minor effect on the textures of peritectic olivine formed in the melting experiments of this study and previous contamination experiments, but affects the assemblages of the peritectic crystal clusters. Cluster density and 2D surface area of peritectic olivine tend to decrease, whereas grain boundary segment length increases with increasing experimental temperature and H2O content. Using textural criteria that distinguish olivine formed after different minerals in our melting experiments, we hypothesize that two olivine populations from a basaltic-andesitic lava flow of the Tatara-San Pedro volcanic complex, Chile, may be peritectic crystals formed after amphibole and orthopyroxene. Both amphibole and orthopyroxene are common in xenoliths preserved in some Tatara-San Pedro lava flows. One notable difference between the experimental and natural olivine crystals is that the natural olivine crystals have 2D surface areas and 2D grain boundary segments up to ∼1000 and ∼100 times larger, respectively, than those produced in our experiments. We propose that this size difference is primarily controlled by comparatively slow heating and decomposition of reactive crystals and textural coarsening of peritectic crystals during prolonged magma residence in the natural system.
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Saskia Erdmann, Bruno Scaillet, D.A. Kellett. Textures of Peritectic Crystals as Guides to Reactive Minerals in Magmatic Systems: New Insights from Melting Experiments. Journal of Petrology, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2012, 53 (11), pp.2231-2258. ⟨10.1093/petrology/egs048⟩. ⟨insu-00770737⟩



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