Spinel and plagioclase peridotites of the Nain ophiolite (Central Iran): Evidence for the incipient stage of oceanic basin formation

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Abstract

The Nain ophiolites crop out along the western border of the central East Iran Microcontinent (CEIM) and consist of an ophiolitic mélange in which pargasite-bearing spinel and plagioclase mantle lherzolites are largely represented. Whole-rock and mineral chemistry data suggest that these rocks record the complex history of the asthenospheric and lithospheric mantle evolution. The spinel lherzolites have experienced low-degree (~5%) partial melting and contain clinopyroxenes with positive Eu anomalies (Eu/Eu⁎ = 1.10–1.48) suggesting that the partial melting occurred under oxidized conditions (fayalite–magnetite–quartz −0.8 to +1.3). The pargasite and coexisting clinopyroxene in these rocks are depleted in light rare earth elements (LREE) (mean chondrite-normalized CeN/SmN = 0.045). The depleted chemistry of this amphibole reflects metasomatism during interaction with H2O-rich subalkaline mafic melts, most likely concurrently with or after the partial melting of the spinel lherzolites. The plagioclase lherzolites were subsequently formed by the subsolidus recrystallization of spinel lherzolites under plagioclase facies conditions as a result of mantle uprising, as evidenced by: (1) the development of plagioclase rims around the spinels; (2) plagioclase + orthopyroxene exsolution textures within some clinopyroxene grains; (3) an increase in plagioclase modal content coupled with an increase in modal olivine and a decrease in modal pyroxene and pargasite; (4) coincident decreases in Al, Mg, and Ni, and increases in Cr, Ti, and Fe in spinel, as well as decreases in Al and Ca, and increases in Cr and Ti in pyroxene and pargasite; and (5) the identical whole rock compositions of the spinel and plagioclase lherzolites, which rules out a magmatic origin for the plagioclase in these units. The Nain lherzolites have similar whole-rock and mineral geochemical compositions to subcontinental peridotites that are typically representative of Iberia-type rifted continental margins and ocean–continent transition zones (OCTZ), suggesting that they formed during the early stages of the evolution of the Nain oceanic basin. This means that the Nain lherzolites represent the Triassic–Jurassic western border of the CEIM or alternatively an associated OCTZ.

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Pirnia, T., Saccani, E., & Arai, S. (2018). Spinel and plagioclase peridotites of the Nain ophiolite (Central Iran): Evidence for the incipient stage of oceanic basin formation. Lithos, 310311, 1–19. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lithos.2018.04.001

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