Amphibole plays an important role in the petrogenesis and evolution of arc magmas, but its role is not completely understood yet. Here, a field, petrological, geochronological and geochemical study is carried out on ultramafic-mafic arc cumulates with textural and chemical heterogeneities and on associated host diorites from the eastern Gangdese Batholith, southern Tibet to explore the problem. The cumulates occur as a large body in diorite host-rocks. The core of the body consists of coarse-grained Cpx hornblendite with a porphyritic texture. Towards the contact with the host diorite, the coarse-grained Cpx hornblendite grades to relatively homogeneous fine-grained melagabbro. Zircon U–Pb dating indicates they all crystallized at 200 ± 1 Ma. Textural features and whole-rock and mineral chemical data reveal that both the Cpx hornblendite and the melagabbro are mixtures of two different mineral assemblages that are not in equilibrium: (1) brown amphibole and its clinopyroxene inclusions; (2) matrix clinopyroxene + green amphibole + plagioclase + quartz + accessory phases. Clinopyroxene and brown amphibole from the first assemblage are enriched in middle rare earth elements (MREE) relative to light REE (LREE) and heavy REE (HREE), and are weakly depleted in Ti, whereas clinopyroxene and green amphibole from the second assemblage are characterized by LREE enrichment over MREE-HREE and more marked Sr and Ti depletion. The higher Mg#, MgO and Cr of the late-formed green amphibole than the early-formed brown amphibole suggest that the two assemblages are not on the same liquid line of descent. Given the close relations of the three rock types in the exposed crustal section, the cumulates are interpreted to have formed in an open system, in which an ultramafic cumulate body consisting of the first assemblage reacted with the host dioritic melt to form new clinopyroxene and amphibole of the second assemblage. The melt calculated to be in equilibrium with the first mineral assemblage resembles an average continental arc basalt, that is less evolved than the host dioritic melt, responsible for the second mineral assemblage. On the basis of whole-rock Sr–Nd–Hf isotopic similarity of the cumulates and a host diorite sample, we argue that the host diorites were formed through crystal fractionation from the parent melt of the first assemblage. Results of least-squares mass-balance calculations suggest the quantities of the host dioritic melts, involved in the generation of these modified cumulates, vary from ~25% to ~44%. The presence of magmatic epidote in the host diorites and Al-in-Hb geobarometry indicate the reaction that occurred when the dioritic melts percolated through the cumulate body was at ~6 kbar. Both the brown and green amphiboles are enriched in MREE relative to HREE, and can impart residual melts with a strong geochemical signature of amphibole fractionation (low Dy/Yb). Thus, we conclude that fractional crystallization and melt-rock reaction are two mechanisms by which amphibole controls arc magma petrogenesis and evolution.
Article link: https://doi.org/10.1093/petrology/egab073