Abstract

The lower 3000 m basalt stratigraphy on the Faeroe Islands shows strong positive correlation between degree of fractionation and Zr/Y ratio. This is ascribed to the presence of garnet in the cumulus assemblage during fractionation at the base of the continental crust or in the upper lithospheric mantle at 40-50 km depth. Later basaltic magmas fractionated at low pressures, which is a typical shift in fractionation regime among continental flood basalts. Seismic velocity (Vp) for the garnet-bearing high-pressure fractionates is in excess of 7 km/s. This is comparable to velocities observed in high-Vp bodies in the basal crust of Precambrian shields. High-pressure fractional crystallization of basaltic magmas may thus be an important process in generating the chemical complexity of continental flood basalts and has implications for crustal underplating.

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