Abstract

A large peak in the crestal mountains of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, about 16 km west of the AMAR rift valley at 36°25′N, was sampled for basalt with a submersible electric rock core drill on a comparable surficial scale as the FAMOUS area. Twenty-eight basalt samples from seven drilling stations have been analyzed for major and trace elements. Many of the samples come from flows lying under a cover of carbonate rocks and therefore could not have been sampled by a submersible or a dredge.Through comparisons with published compositional data, it appears that, unlike "FAMOUS-generated" basalts, "AMAR-generated" basalts are, on average, more evolved and are always LREE enriched. Most of the in- and between-hole compositional variation can be accounted for by low-temperature alteration, accumulation of phenocrysts, and low-pressure, relatively low-temperature fractional crystallization. A source heterogeneous in trace elements or undergoing variable degrees of partial melting is necessary to explain the remaining compositional variation. If the large peak can be interpreted as a single volcano, it may be that lavas become progressively more differentiated with time at mid-ocean ridge volcanoes as they commonly do at subduction zone volcanoes.

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