Abstract

Pargasitic amphibole has been observed for the first time in an ultramafic xenolith from British Columbia. The xenolith is a chrome diopside-bearing spinel lherzolite trapped within an alkali basaltic lava flow at Lightning Peak, near Vernon, British Columbia. Amphibole (<5%) occurs within the xenolith as small grains, interstitial between other xenolith mineral phases, and always shows evidence of melting. Microprobe analyses of the amphibole reveal that it is a pargasite rich in MgO (MgO = 17.1–17.7 wt.%; Mg/(Mg + Fe2+) = 0.89) and CaO (10.4–10.7 wt.%). Textural and chemical evidence suggests that the pargasite is in equilibrium with the other phases in spinel lherzolite. The pargasite probably crystallized within the spinel stability field of the upper mantle from a volatile-rich metasomatic fluid that was produced by dehydration of subducted material. Melting in the amphibole may have been caused by one of three processes: superheating by the host alkali basalt, decompression as the magma ascended, or by in situ partial melting within the upper mantle. The partial melting of amphibole-bearing spinel lherzolite provides a possible mechanism for the generation of late Cenozoic alkalic magmas of the Intermontane Belt of British Columbia.

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