Bach, Wolfgang; Garrido, Carlos J.; Paulick, Holger; Harvey, Jason and Rosner, Martin
Seawater-peridotite interactions: First insights from ODP Leg 209, MAR 15°N.
Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, 5(9),
We present first results of a petrographic study of hydrothermally altered peridotites drilled during Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Leg 209 in the 15°20′N fracture Zone area on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR). We find that serpentinization is extensive at all drill sites. Where serpentinization is incomplete, phase relations indicate two major reaction pathways. One is reaction of pyroxene to talc and tremolite, and the other is reaction of olivine to serpentine, magnetite, and brucite. We interpret these reactions in the light of recent peridotite-seawater reaction experiments and compositions of fluids venting from peridotite massifs at a range of temperatures. We suggest that the replacement of pyroxene by talc and tremolite takes place at temperatures >350°–400°C, where olivine is stable. The breakdown of olivine to serpentine, magnetite, and brucite is favored at temperatures below 250°C, where olivine reacts faster then pyroxene. High-temperature hydrothermal fluids venting at the Logatchev and Rainbow sites are consistent with rapid reaction of pyroxene and little or no reaction of olivine. Moderate-temperature fluids venting at the Lost City site are consistent with ongoing reaction of olivine to serpentine and brucite. Many completely serpentinized peridotites lack brucite and talc because once the more rapidly reacting phase is exhausted, interaction with the residual phase will change fluid pH and silica activity such that brucite or talc react to serpentine. At two sites we see strong evidence for continued fluid flow and fluid-rock interaction after serpentinization was complete. At Site 1268, serpentinites underwent massive replacement by talc under static conditions. This reaction requires either removal of Mg from or addition of Si to the system. We propose that the talc-altered rocks are Si-metasomatized and that the source of Si is likely gabbro-seawater reaction or breakdown of pyroxene deeper in the basement. The basement at Site 1268 is heavily veined, with talc and talc-oxide-sulfide veins being the most common vein types. It appears that the systems evolved from reducing (oxygen fugacity buffered by magnetite-pyrrhotite-pyrite and lower) to oxidizing (dominantly hematite). We propose that this transition is indicative of high fluid flux under retrograde conditions and that the abundance of hematite may relate to the Ca-depleted nature of the basement that prevents near-quantitative removal of seawater sulfate by anhydrite precipitation. At site 1272 we find abundant iowaite partly replacing brucite. While this is the first report of iowaite from a mid-ocean ridge setting, its presence indicates, again, fairly oxidizing conditions. Our preliminary results indicate that peridotite-seawater and serpentinite-seawater interactions can take place under a wider range of temperature and redox conditions than previously appreciated.
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