Abstract

High-level intrusions of highly undersaturated alkalic ultrabasic and gabbroic rocks occur in four areas of the Oman Mountains. They all intrude either the Haybi volcanic – Oman Exotic limestone (Permo-Triassic) thrust slice immediately beneath the Semail Ophiolite (Cenomanian) or the uppermost thrust slice of the underlying Hawasina (Permian to Cenomanian) Tethyan sediments. Detailed structural mapping indicates that the sills were all emplaced prior to the Late Cretaceous thrusting of the Oman allochthon onto the Mesozoic continental margin of Arabia, and therefore in an oceanic setting. These differentiated sills consist of biotite wehrlites at the base and kaersutite-bearing jacupirangites above, with kaersutite gabbros at the top. Olivine occurs only at the base. Titanaugite, kaersutite, titanium phlogopite, apatite, and opaque iron–titanium oxides are common mineral phases.Fractional crystallization and gravity differentiation processes and a rapid increase in volatile components at decreasing pressures all played a part in the petrogenesis of these uncommon intrusive rocks. K–Ar ages on biotites span the mid-Jurassic to Cenomanian, and in the northern Oman Mountains kaersutite jacupirangites are incorporated into the Cenomanian–Turonian amphibolite facies metamorphic sheet beneath the Semail Ophiolite. Alkaline magmas were present at depth along the passive continental margin, right up until Cenomanian times when northeast subduction was initiated and compressional tectonics began. Alkaline volcanism of Cenomanian age in the Dibba Zone indicates that tensional rifting processes were operative along the continental margin at the same time as compressional thrusting was occurring outboard. The alkaline rocks are unrelated to the ophiolite but are artifacts of Mesozoic rifting events in Tethys now preserved in footwall thrust slices beneath the ophiolite.

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