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Published July 2011 | Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

Fe-Mg Partitioning between Olivine and High-magnesian Melts and the Nature of Hawaiian Parental Liquids


We conducted 1 atm experiments on a synthetic Hawaiian picrite at fO_2 values ranging from the quartz–fayalite–magnetite (QFM) buffer to air and temperatures ranging from 1302 to 1600°C. Along the QFM buffer, olivine is the liquidus phase at ~1540°C and small amounts of spinel (< 0·2 wt %) are present in experiments conducted at and below 1350°C. The olivine becomes progressively more ferrous with decreasing temperature [Fo_(92·3) to Fo_(87·3), where Fo = 100 × Mg/(Mg + Fe), atomic]; compositions of coexisting liquids reflect the mode and composition of the olivine with concentrations of SiO_2, TiO_2, Al_(2)O_3, and CaO increasing monotonically with decreasing temperature, those of NiO and MgO decreasing, and FeO^* (all Fe as FeO) remaining roughly constant. An empirical relationship based on our data, T(°C) = 19·2 × (MgO in liquid, wt %) + 1048, provides a semi-quantitative geothermometer applicable to a range of Hawaiian magma compositions. The olivine–liquid exchange coefficient, K_(D,Fe^(2+)-Mg) = (FeO/MgO)^(ol)/(FeO/MgO)^(liq), is 0·345 ± 0·009 (1σ ) for our 11 experiments. A literature database of 446 1 atm experiments conducted within 0·25 log units of the QFM buffer (QFM ± 0·25) yields a median K_(D,Fe^(2+)-Mg) of 0·34; K_(D,Fe^(2+)-Mg) values from single experiments range from 0·41 to 0·13 and are correlated with SiO_2 and alkalis in the liquid, as well as the forsterite (Fo) content of the olivine. For 78 experiments with broadly tholeiitic liquid compositions (46–52 wt % SiO_2 and ≤ 3 wt % Na_(2)O + K_(2)O) coexisting with Fo_(92–80) olivines, and run near QFM (QFM ± 0·25), K_(D,Fe^(2+)-Mg) is approximately independent of composition with a median value of 0·340 ± 0·012 (error is the mean absolute deviation of the 78 olivine–glass pairs from the database that meet these compositional criteria), a value close to the mean value of 0·343 ± 0·008 from our QFM experiments. Thus, over the composition range encompassed by Hawaiian tholeiitic lavas and their parental melts, K_(D,Fe^(2+)-Mg) ~ 0·34 and, given the redox conditions and a Fo content for the most magnesian olivine phenocrysts, a parental melt composition can be reconstructed. The calculated compositions of the parental melts are sensitive to the input parameters, decreasing by ~1 wt % MgO for every log unit increase in the selected fO_2, every 0·5 decrease in the Fo-number of the target olivine, and every 0·015 decrease in K_(D,Fe^(2+)-Mg). For plausible ranges in redox conditions and Fo-number of the most MgO-rich olivine phenocrysts, the parental liquids for Hawaiian tholeiites are highly magnesian, in the range of 19–21 wt % MgO for Kilauea, Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea.

Additional Information

© The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press. Received January 21,2010; accepted November 30, 2010; advance access publication January 18, 2011. We thank Ma Chi for assistance with the analytical work on the electron microprobe and are especially appreciative of Rebecca Lange for providing FeO wet chemical measurements. The comments of S. Parman, K. Putirka, and M. Toplis led to significant improvements in the text and a more careful look at the seminal work of Roeder & Emslie. Finally, we would very much like to acknowledge Peter Roeder for the truly amazing feat of locating an unpublished data table four decades after it was produced and his willingness to share it. This work was supported by National Science Foundation grant EAR-9528594, National Aeronautics and Space Administration grant NNX09AG40G, and a National Science Foundation GRF (AKM).

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