Case studies on the origin of basalt - II. The transition from tholeiitic to alkalic volcanism on Kohala volcano, Hawaii

Mark D. Feigenson, Albrecht W. Hofmann, Frank J. Spera

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The simplified model of basalt genesis described in Part I of this series, equilibrium partial melting followed by Rayleigh-type fractional crystallization, is applied to a stratigraphically controlled sequence of basalt flows from Kohala volcano. Major-element compositions were determined for 52 samples and show a time-stratigraphic progression from tholeiites through transitional basalts to alkali basalts. Twenty-six of these samples were analyzed by isotope dilution for K, Rb, Cs, Sr, Ba and the REE, 13 for87Sr/86Sr, and 19 for Co, Cr, Ni and V by atomic absorption. After a simple, first-order correction for the effects of fractional crystallization (involving mostly olivine and aluminous clinopyroxene), the major element concentrations cluster tightly, and the incompatible trace elements show monotonic increases in concentration as a function of stratigraphic height. The process identification plot shows that all the (fractionation corrected) melt compositions can be explained by equilibrium partial melting of compositionally identical batches of source material. The REE and Sr are fractionated because of the presence of residual clinopyroxene. Garnet may also be present but in much smaller amounts. In this respect our results differ significantly from those of Leeman et al. (1980). The calculated chondrite-normalized REE patterns of the source are nearly flat to slightly convex upward. Therefore there is no need to invoke special mechanisms, such as metasomatic REE preenrichment of the source, in order to explain the petrogenesis of the suite of lavas. Specifically, Ce concentrations ranging from 20 to 250 times chondritic are all explained by the same calculated source pattern having a chondrite-normalized ratio of Ce/Sm=0.9±0.2. However, the normalized ratio Ce/Ba≅2 shows that the source is not simply primitive mantle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)390-405
Number of pages16
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1983
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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