Interactions of magmas and highly reduced fluids during intraplate volcanism, Mt Carmel, Israel: Implications for mantle redox states and global carbon cycles

W. L. Griffin, L. Bindi, F. Camara, C. Ma, S. E. M. Gain, M. Saunders, O. Alard, J. -x. Huang, J. Shaw, Caleb Meredith, V. Toledo, S. Y. O'Reilly

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Oxygen fugacity (fO2) controls the speciation of COH fluids in Earth's mantle; a major question is whether the sublithospheric mantle is metal-saturated, maintaining fO2 near the Iron-Wustite (IW) buffer reaction. If so, then COH fluids from this source will be dominated by CH4 + H2, rather than the more oxidized CO2-H2O fluids commonly considered in petrological studies. A key to this question is found in rare but widespread examples of natural mineral assemblages that require unusually low fO2. We summarize an investigation of super-reduced mineral assemblages in corundum xenocrysts from Late Cretaceous alkali-basalt volcanoes on Mt Carmel, northern Israel and related Plio-Pleistocene alluvial deposits. P-T estimates indicate that the corundum xenocrysts crystallized in the uppermost mantle. The well-documented geological controls on the origin of these deposits, and radiometric dating of the super-reduced phases, ensure the "naturalness" of the controversial assemblages and make these mineral par-ageneses a benchmark for evaluation of related occurrences worldwide.The tuffs contain a "basalt-megacryst" mineral suite (zircon, sapphire, ilmenite, spinel). The megacryst chemistry and the geochronology of the zircons indicate that the megacrysts crystallized from broadly syenitic melts that differentiated at subcrustal levels (P ca 1 GPa) within a thick gabbroic underplate built up from Permian through Pliocene time and perhaps into the Pleistocene. Reaction of mantle-derived CH4-H2 fluids with these syenitic melts led to the separation of immiscible Fe0 and Fe-Ti oxide melts near fO2 = IW. Trace-element distributions suggest the syenitic melts then separated into immiscible Si-Al-Na-K-rich and FeO-rich oxide melts; the latter were enriched in HFSE, REE, P and Zr as in other natural and synthetic examples of melt-melt immiscibility.In a model magma chamber the FeO-rich melts would sink, leaving the Si-Al-Na-K melts in an upper zone, both still fluxed by CH4-H2 fluids. At fO2 of DIW-6 to-7 the removal of immiscible Fe-Ti-Si-C silicide melts from the FeO-rich melt would leave a desilicated Ca-Al-Si oxide melt that crystallized high-Ti corundum hibonite cumulates with inclusions requiring fO2 from DIW + 2 to DIW-9, while the less-reduced conjugate silicate melts in the upper levels crystallized low-Ti corundum. Aggregates of skeletal, strongly Ti-zoned corundum crystals. reflect rapid crystallization from very reduced melt-fluid mixtures, probably in fluid-escape channels. Explosive eruptions sampled individual magma chambers at different depths and with different initial compositions, fluid mixtures and fluid dynamics to produce Mt Carmel's mineralogical diversity.A review of similar occurrences worldwide suggests that the Mt Carmel assemblages reflect a fundamental process - the rise of CH4-H2 fluids into the upper mantle --that accompanies mantle-derived magmatism in many tectonic settings. The interaction of these fluids with lithospheric mantle rocks
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-54
Number of pages41
JournalGondwana Research
Early online date19 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024


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