Abstract

Phase relations in the Mg2SiO4-MgCr2O4 system were investigated in the pressure range of 9.5–27 GPa at 1600°C to examine the possible deep mantle origin of ultrahigh-pressure (UHP) chromitites in ophiolites. The experimental results indicate that MgCr2O4-rich chromite (Ch) coexists with Mg2SiO4-rich olivine (Ol) below ~13.5 GPa in the equimolar Mg2SiO4·MgCr2O4 composition. Above ~13.5 GPa, they react to form a three-phase assemblage: garnet (Gt) solid solution in the Mg4Si4O12-Mg3Cr2Si3O12 system, modified ludwigite (mLd)-type Mg2Cr2O5 phase and Mg14Si5O24-rich anhydrous phase B (Anh-B). At ~19.5 GPa, Anh-B is replaced by Mg2SiO4-rich wadsleyite (Wd). At 22 GPa, MgCr2O4-rich calcium titanate (CT) phase coexists with Mg2SiO4-rich ringwoodite (Rw). The assemblage of CT+Rw changes to CT + MgSiO3-rich bridgmanite (Brg) + MgO periclase at 23 GPa. These sequential phase changes indicate that Ch+Ol do not directly transform to CT+Rw but to the three-phase assemblage, Gt+mLd+Anh-B (or Wd), that becomes stable at pressures corresponding to the upper and middle parts of the mantle transition zone. Our results suggest that the UHP chromitites that have been studied so far did not reach transition zone depths during mantle recycling processes of the chromitites, because there is no evidence of the presence of the reaction products of Ol and Ch. If the reaction products, in particular mLd and Anh-B, are found in the UHP chromitites, they are good indicators to estimate the subduction depth of the chromitites.

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