Importance of iron-rich tholeiitic magmas at divergent plate margins: a reappraisal

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    When a tholeiitic liquid differentiates, it may give rise to either iron-poor, silica-rich (rhyolitic) differentiates or to iron-rich, silica-poor differentiates, as found in the Skaergaard intrusion. Among the Tertiary basalts and intrusions in East Greenland, normal erupted basalts may be mixtures of primitive liquid and differentiated iron-rich liquid, which exists at depth but normally does not reach the surface because of its high density. The evolved liquids of the Skaergaard intrusion were of this kind. Data from mid-oceanic ridges confirm this view. Iron-rich differentiated liquids, despite their scarcity on the surface, are probably much more voluminous at depth, as picrites, at the other side of the density minimum attained during liquid evolution, are thought to be. The trend toward iron enrichment develops when the tholeiitic magma differentiates in a closed system at a relatively low oxidation state, whereas the trend toward silica enrichment and iron depletion occurs when the magma has interacted with the oxidized and hydrated surroundings in the crust. -from Authors

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)269-272
    Number of pages4
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 1991

    Programme Area

    • Programme Area 4: Mineral Resources


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