Orthopyroxene oikocrysts in the MG1 chromitite layer of the Bushveld Complex: implications for cumulate formation and recrystallisation

Felix E. D. Kaufmann, Zoja Vukmanovic, Marian B. Holness, Lutz Hecht

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13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Two typical mineral textures of the MG 1 chromitite of the Bushveld Complex, South Africa, were observed; one characterised by abundant orthopyroxene oikocrysts, and the other by coarse-grained granular chromitite with only minor amounts of interstitial material. Oikocrysts form elongate clusters of several crystals aligned parallel to the layering, and typically have subhedral, almost chromite-free, core zones containing remnants of olivine. The core zones are surrounded by poikilitic aureoles overgrowing euhedral to subhedral chromite chadacrysts. Chromite grains show no preferred crystal orientation, whereas orthopyroxene grains forming clusters commonly share the same crystallographic orientation. Oikocryst core zones have lower Mg# and higher concentrations of incompatible trace elements compared to their poikilitic aureoles. Core zones are relatively enriched in REE compared to a postulated parental magma (B1) and did not crystallise in equilibrium with the surrounding minerals, whereas the composition of the poikilitic orthopyroxene is consistent with growth from the B1 magma. These observations cannot be explained by the classic cumulus and post-cumulus models of oikocryst formation. Instead, we suggest that the oikocryst core zones in the MG1 chromitite layer formed by peritectic replacement of olivine primocrysts by reaction with an upwards-percolating melt enriched in incompatible trace elements. Poikilitic overgrowth on oikocryst core zones occurred in equilibrium with a basaltic melt of B1 composition near the magma-crystal mush interface. Finally, adcumulus crystallisation followed by grain growth resulted in the surrounding granular chromitite.
Original languageEnglish
Article number17
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Volume173
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018

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