Article: article from journal or magazin.
The roles of flux- and decompression melting and their respective fractionation lines for continental crust formation: Evidence from the Kohistan arc
Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Delamination and foundering of the lower continental crust (LCC) into the mantle is part of the crust-forming mechanism. However, knowledge of the composition and mineralogy of the preserved or delaminated LCC over geological timescales remains scarce. We provide a synopsis of recent research within the Kohistan arc (Pakistan) and demonstrate that hydrous and less hydrous liquid lines of descent related to flux assisted and decompression mantle melting, respectively, produce compositionally different lower crustal rocks. The argument refers to two lower crustal sections exposed in Kohistan, the older Southern Plutonic Complex (SPC) and the younger Chilas Complex. The SPC typifies a hydrous, high-pressure fractionation sequence of olivine-pyroxenes-garnet-Fe/Ti-oxide-amphibole-plagioclase. The Chilas Complex illustrates a less hydrous fractionation sequence of olivine-clinopyroxene-orthopyroxene-plagioclase-amphibole. Despite the similarity of the Chilas Complex rocks to proposed lower crust compositions, the less hydrous fractionation results in unrealistically small volumes of silica-rich rocks, precluding the Chilas Complex gabbros to represent the magmatic complement to the upper crust. The composition of the SPC lower crust differs markedly from bulk lower crust estimates, but is complementary to silica-rich rocks exposed along this section and in the Kohistan batholith. These observations inspire a composite model for the formation of continental crust (CC) where the negatively buoyant delaminated and the buoyant preserved lower continental crusts (LCC) differ in genesis, mineralogy, and composition. We propose that the upper, non-sedimentary subsequent removal of the complementary, negatively buoyant garnet-pyroxene-amphibole-plagioclase-rich cumulates. In contrast, the LCC, which is buoyant and preserved over geological timescales, is formed by less hydrous parental mantle melts. We suggest that the bulk continental crust composition is related to mixing of these petrologically not directly related end members. Published by Elsevier B.V.
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