Abstract

Experimental crystallization of anhydrous synthetic quartz diorite (≈andesite), gabbroic anorthosite, and high-alumina basalt has been conducted in their respective partial melting fields at high pressure. The quartz diorite composition shows a large field of crystallization of plagioclase from 0–13.5 kb, together with subordinate amounts of orthopyroxene and clinopyroxene and minor opaque minerals. In the gabbroic anorthosite, plagioclase is the main phase crystallizing from 0–22.5 kb, but at higher pressure it is replaced by aluminous clinopyroxene. Aluminous clinopyroxene is the main phase crystallizing from the high-alumina basalt from 9–18 kb and is joined by plagioclase at lower temperatures. At higher pressure it is joined by garnet. The albite content of the liquidus and near-liquidus plagioclase increases markedly with increasing pressure in each of the three compositions.The results for the high-alumina basalt and gabbroic anorthosite compositions preclude any major trends towards alumina enrichment and derivation of anorthositic plutons at crustal or upper mantle depths under anhydrous conditions. However, the results for the quartz diorite suggest that anorthositic complexes may form as a crystalline residuum from the partial melting of a lower crust of overall andesitic composition or from fractional crystallization of an andesitic magma. In either case a large separation of plagioclase crystals occurs (andesine – acid labradorite composition at lower crustal pressures), together with subordinate pyroxenes and ore minerals. Under appropriate temperature conditions separation of crystals and liquid by a filter-pressing mechanism during deformation may result in the genesis of igneous complexes containing rock types ranging in composition from gabbro through gabbroic anorthosite to anorthosite, together with associated acid rocks. The acid rocks need not necessarily remain spatially associated with the refractory gabbroic anorthosite and anorthosite. Where these processes have operated in the crust, anorthositic rocks may be left as the main component of the lower crust, while the low melting acidic fraction has intruded to higher levels.

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