Abstract

The Ranomena ultramafic complex in NE Madagascar consists of layered gabbro, harzburgite, orthopyroxenite, clinopyroxenite, garnet websterite and chromitite-layered peridotite. This study of the Ranomena chromite chemistry aims to better understand the petrogenesis and palaeotectonic environment of the complex. The chromite from the Ranomena chromitite is unzoned/weakly zoned and has a Cr# (Cr/(Cr + Al)) of 0.59–0.69, a Mg# (Mg/(Fe + Mg)) of 0.37–0.44, and low Al2O3 (15–23 wt %) suggesting derivation from a supra-subduction zone arc setting. Calculation of parental melt composition suggests that the parental magma composition of the Ranomena chromitite was similar to that of a primitive tholeiitic basalt formed at a high degree of mantle melting, suggesting the parental melt composition was equivalent to that of an island-arc tholeiite (IAT). The parental magma of the Ranomena chromite had a FeO/MgO ratio of 0.9 to 1.8, suggesting arc derivation. The parental magma was Al- and Fe-rich, similar to a tholeiitic basaltic magma. The composition of orthopyroxene from the chromitite indicates a crystallization temperature range of 1250–1300°C at 1.0 GPa. The chemistry of the chromite in the Ranomena chromitite further suggests that the complex formed in a supra-subduction zone arc tectonic setting.

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