Evidence for multiple pulses of crystal-bearing magma during emplacement of the Doros layered intrusion, Namibia
Publication Year:
The Doros Complex is a relatively small (maximum 3.5 kmx 7.5 km) shallow-level, lopolithic, layered mafic intrusion in the early Cretaceous Paraná-Etendeka Large Igneous Province. The stratigraphy broadly comprises a minor, fine-grained gabbroic sill and a sequence of primitive olivine-cumulate melagabbros, with a basal chilled margin, an intermediate plagioclase-cumulate olivine gabbro, and a sequence of mineralogically and texturally variable, intermediate, strongly foliated, plagioclase-, olivine- or magnetite-cumulate gabbros. An evolved syenitic (bostonite) phase occurs as cross-cutting dykes or as enclaves within the foliated gabbros. Major element modelling of the liquid line of descent shows that the spectrum of rock types, including the bostonite, is consistent with the fractionation of a basaltic parental magma that crystallised olivine, clinopyroxene, plagioclase, magnetite, K-feldspar and apatite. However, the stratigraphic succession does not correspond to a simple progressive differentiation trend but instead shows a series of punctuated trends, each defined by a compositional reversal or hiatus. Incompatible trace element concentrations do not increase upwards though the body of the intrusion. The major units show similar, mildly enriched rare earth element patterns, with minimal Eu anomalies. Back-calculation of the rare earth element concentrations of these cumulate rocks produces relatively evolved original liquid compositions, indicating fractionation of this liquid from a more primitive precursor. Based on combined field, petrographic, geochemical and geophysical evidence, we propose an origin for the Doros Complex by a minimum of seven closely spaced influxes of crystal-bearing magmas, each with phenocryst contents between 5% and 55%. These findings represent a departure from the traditional single-pulse liquid model for the formation of layered mafic intrusions and suggest the presence of an underlying magmatic mush column, i.e., a large, complex system of interconnected conduits and staging chambers that host a range of co-existing magmas of different compositions and crystal contents. Keywords: Fractional crystallisation, Geochemistry, Layered intrusion, Magma mush, Paraná-Etendeka Large Igneous Province.
Publication Title:
Item Type:
Journal Article

EIS custom tag descriptions