Geochemistry of Kauai volcanics and a mixing model for the origin of Hawaiian alkali basalts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


A comprehensive model is developed to explain the major, trace element and strontium and neodymium isotopic characteristics of alkali basalts from Hawaii. The model is similar to that of Chen and Frey (1983) in that it requires mixing of a small melt fraction of MORB-source material with another component to generate the alkalic suite of a particular Hawaiian volcano. It differs from the Chen and Frey model in that the other end-member must be different from primitive mantle if it is to be consistent with both trace element and isotopic data. Alkali basalts and tholeiites from Kauai analyzed in this study show a nearly complete transition in Sr and Nd isotopes. There is a relatively well-constrained array on a Nd-Sr isotope correlation plot that can be explained by two-component mixing of Kauai tholeiite magma and a small amount of melt of East Pacific Rise source rock. After corrections are made for fractional crystallization (involving primarily clinopyroxene and olivine), the Sr and Ba concentrations of Kauai lavas plot along mixing curves defined by the above sources, providing positive tests of the mixing hypothesis. Implications of this model are: (1) the main source of Hawaiian shield-building tholeiites is a mixture of subducted crust, primitive mantle and depleted asthenosphere that has been homogenized prior to melting, (2) early alkalic volcanism (as at Loihi seamount) will be characterized by greater isotopic heterogeneity than will late-stage alkali basalt production, and (3) there are two fundamentally distinct types of alkalic lavas erupted towards the end of magmatism at a given Hawaiian volcano. One represents smaller degrees of melting of the same source that generated shield-building tholeiites (Kohala-type); the other derives from the mixed source discussed in this paper (Haleakala-, Kauai-type).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-119
Number of pages11
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1984

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Geochemistry of Kauai volcanics and a mixing model for the origin of Hawaiian alkali basalts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this