Abstract

Gabbro samples (c. < 0.4 Ma old) dredged from close to the ‘Vityaz Megamullion’ on the slow-spreading Northern Central Indian Ridge (NCIR, 18–22 mm yr−1) include mostly olivine gabbro and Fe–Ti oxide gabbro. The cumulate olivine gabbro shows ophitic to subophitic texture with early formed plagioclase crystals in mutual contact with each other, and a narrow range of compositions of olivine (Fo80–81), clinopyroxene (magnesium number: 85–87) and plagioclase (An67–70). This olivine gabbro could be geochemically cogenetic with the evolved oxide gabbro. These gabbro samples are geochemically distinct from the CIR gabbro occurring along the Vema, Argo and Marie Celeste transform faults and can further be discriminated from the associated NCIR basalts by their clinopyroxene (augite in gabbro, and diopsidic in basalts) and olivine (gabbro: Fo80–81, basalts: Fo82–88) compositions. Our major oxide, trace element and REE geochemistry analyses suggest that the gabbro and the NCIR basalts are also not cogenetic and had experienced different trends of geochemical evolution. The clinopyroxenes of the present NCIR gabbros are geochemically similar to primitive melt that is in equilibrium with mantle peridotite, and do not show any poikilitic texture with resorbed plagioclase; these results negate the possibility of these gabbros being a pre-existing cumulate that has been brought up to the shallower oceanic crust and interacted with the NCIR basalt. The Sr, Pb and Nd isotopic data of the gabbro substantially differ from those of the NCIR basalts and suggest significant contamination of the depleted mantle source of the gabbro, most likely by the Indian Ocean pelagic sediments. The Pb-isotope data suggest that the proportion of pelagic sediment that mixed in the depleted mantle source of the NCIR gabbro is much higher than the level of contamination observed for the Indian Ocean MORBs.

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