Abstract

Detailed descriptions of the mineralogy, petrography, geochemistry, and physical properties of serpentinized ultramafic rocks dredged from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at 45° N support an interpretation of the events which affected these rocks after their original crystallization. Crystallization apparently took place in lopoliths emplaced at the Crust/Upper Mantle interface beneath the axis of the ridge under conditions quiet enough to permit gravity crystal differentiation and layering. The rocks were then fractured without hydration under high hydrostatic pressure, with a feeble directional component, possibly under conditions favoring solid-state recrystallization of interstitial minerals. Hydration (amphibolization) began during the last phases of intimate mechanical deformation and the commencement of rodingitic metasomatism. Further hydration resulted in multiple overlapping periods of serpentinization dependent on varying physical conditions. Hydrating fluids may have been derived both from juvenile waters and from sea water.

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