Lateral variations in the Unit 7-8 boundary zone of the Rum Eastern Layered Intrusion, NW Scotland: implications for the origin and timing of Cr-spinel seam formation

Felix Kaufmann, Brian O'Driscoll, Lutz Hecht

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The Rum Layered Suite, NW Scotland, hosts Cr-spinel seams at the bases of peridotite troctolite macro-rhythmic units in the eastern portion of the intrusion. Here we present detailed field observations together with microstructural and mineral chemical analyses for the Unit 7- 8 Cr-spinel seam and associated cumulates in the Eastern Layered Intrusion. Detailed mapping and sampling reveal significant lateral variations in the structural characteristics and mineral compositions of the Unit 7-8 boundary zone rocks. Although the Cr-spinel seam is laterally continuous over ~3 km, it is absent towards the centre and the margins of the intrusion. The compositional characteristics of Cr-spinel and plagioclase vary systematically along strike, exhibiting a chemical evolution towards more differentiated compositions with increasing distance from the main feeder conduit of the Rum intrusion; the Long Loch Fault. On the basis of our combined datasets we propose that the upper part of the troctolite, the anorthosite layer underlying the Cr-spinel seam and the seam itself formed during a multi
stage magma replenishment event. The stages can be summarised as follows: (1) Peridotite schlieren and anorthosite autoliths formed following melt infiltration and cumulate assimilation in the crystal mush of the Unit 7 troctolite. (2) The anorthosite layer then formed from the Unit 7 troctolite crystal mush by thermal erosion and dissolution due to infiltrating magma. (3) Subsequent dissolution of the anorthosite layer by new replenishing magma led to peritectic in
situ crystallisation of the Unit 7-8 Cr-spinel seam, with (4) continued magma input eventuallyproducing the overlying Unit 8 peridotite. In the central part of the Rum Layered Suite the aforementioned assimilation of the troctolitic footwall formed the anorthosite layer. However, the absence of anorthosite in close proximity to the Long Loch Fault can be explained by enhanced thermochemical erosion close to the feeder zone, and its absence close to the margins of the intrusion, at maximum distance from the Long Loch Fault, may be due to cooling of the magma and loss of erosion potential. In line with other recent studies on PGE-bearing chromitites in layered intrusions, we highlight the importance of multi-stage intrusive magma replenishment to the formation of spatially-coupled anorthosite and Cr-spinel seams, as well as the lateral mineral chemical variations observed in the Unit 7-8 boundary zone cumulates.
Original languageEnglish
Article number90
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 14 Aug 2020


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