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O'Driscoll, B, Day JMD, Walker RJ, Daly JS, McDonough WF, Piccoli PM.  2012.  Chemical heterogeneity in the upper mantle recorded by peridotites and chromitites from the Shetland Ophiolite Complex, Scotland. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 333:226-237.   10.1016/j.epsl.2012.03.035   Abstract

The timing, causes and extent of mantle heterogeneity preserved in the ∼492 Ma Shetland Ophiolite Complex (Scotland) are evaluated using Re–Os isotope and whole rock highly siderophile element (HSE: Os, Ir, Ru, Pt, Pd, Re) abundance measurements of a suite of eight chromitites and 21 serpentinised harzburgites and dunites. Shetland dunites have more variable initial 187Os/188Os, as well as absolute and relative abundances of the HSE, compared to spatially associated harzburgites. As is common for ophiolitic peridotites, the harzburgites (γOs492Ma of −5.3 to +2.6) preserve evidence for a Mesoproterozoic depletion event, but are dominated by contemporary chondritic, ambient upper mantle compositions. The dunites have γOs492Ma values ranging between −3.3 and +12.4, reflecting dunite formation by higher degrees of melt interaction with mantle rock than for the spatially associated harzburgites.

Chromitite seams from three locations separated by <500 m have a large range in HSE concentrations (e.g., 0.09 to ∼2.9 μg g−1 Os) with initial γOs492Ma values ranging only from +0.48 to +3.95. Sulphides, arsenides and platinum-group minerals are the primary hosts for the HSE in the chromitites. Their isotopic variations reflect initial isotopic heterogeneity in their primary magmatic signatures. Coupled with field observations that support chromitite formation in concentrated zones of enhanced melt flow, the isotopic dichotomy between the harzburgites and the chromitites suggests that chromitite 187Os/188Os compositions may better approximate the upper limit, rather than an average value, of the bulk convecting upper mantle.

The Shetland peridotite compositions reflect protracted melt depletion (low-Al2O3) and melt percolation events in a supra-subduction zone (SSZ) setting at ∼492 Ma, following an earlier (Mesoproterozoic) melt-depletion event. These results provide further evidence that ancient chemical complexities can be preserved in the upper mantle during ocean plate formation. Chromitites and peridotites from the Shetland Ophiolite Complex also attest to lithological and geochemical heterogeneities generated at scales of less than tens of metres during the formation of ancient oceanic lithosphere by high-degree SSZ melt extraction, percolation and during chromitite formation in the oceanic lithosphere.

O'Driscoll, B, Walker RJ, Day JMD, Ash RD, Daly JS.  2015.  Generations of Melt Extraction, Melt–Rock Interaction and High-Temperature Metasomatism Preserved in Peridotites of the∼ 497 Ma Leka Ophiolite Complex, Norway. Journal of Petrology. 56(9):1797-1828.   10.1093/petrology/egv055   Abstract

Ophiolites allow spatial and temporal assessment of the causes and length-scales of upper mantle compositional heterogeneity because they permit field-based observations to be coupled with geochemical investigations of upper mantle lithologies. The ∼497 Ma Leka Ophiolite Complex (Norway) comprises a section of early Palaeozoic (Iapetus) oceanic lithosphere with well-exposed mantle and lower crustal sections and generally low degrees of serpentinization. The Leka upper mantle section is heterogeneous at the centimetre to metre scale, manifested by abundant dunite lenses and sheets in harzburgitic host-rock, especially within ∼500 m of the palaeo Moho. Abundant chromitite (≥60 vol. % Cr-spinel) and pyroxenite lenses and layers also occur in the uppermost 200–300 m of the mantle section. These diverse mantle lithologies probably developed in a suprasubduction-zone (SSZ) setting, as a result of fluid-assisted melt extraction, offering an opportunity to interrogate the nature of chemical heterogeneities developed in such rocks. At ∼497 Ma, the Os isotopic compositions of Leka harzburgites averaged ∼2% more radiogenic than the projected average for abyssal peridotites at that time, yet they exhibit nearly chondritic relative abundances of the highly siderophile elements (HSE). Several of the harzburgites are characterized by low initial 187Os/188Os (<0·121), reflecting Proterozoic melt depletion. Preservation of Os isotopic compositions consistent with ancient (<0·5 to 2 Ga) melt depletion episodes is a common characteristic of melt-depleted oceanic peridotites. There is no clear evidence that SSZ melt extraction had a discernible impact on the bulk Os isotopic composition of the Iapetus oceanic mantle, as represented by the Leka harzburgites. By contrast, non-harzburgitic lithologies are generally characterized by more radiogenic initial 187Os/188Os and more variable HSE abundances. The dunites, chromitites and pyroxenites of the LOC can be separated into two groups on the basis of their trace element geochemistry and the Re-Os isotope errorchrons that they define, yielding ages of 485 ± 32 Ma and 589 ± 15 Ma, respectively. The former age corresponds, within error, to the accepted age of the ophiolite (497 ± 2 Ma). The meaning of the latter age is uncertain, but possibly corresponds to the early stages of Iapetus opening. The Leka ophiolite reveals the importance of oceanic lithosphere formation processes for mantle heterogeneity at metre to kilometre scales, but also emphasizes the robustness of Os isotopes in recording older melt-depletion events.

O'Driscoll, B, Walker RJ, Clay PL, Day JMD, Ash RD, Daly JS.  2018.  Length-scales of chemical and isotopic heterogeneity in the mantle section of the Shetland Ophiolite Complex, Scotland. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 488:144-154.   https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2018.02.020   Abstract

Kilometre to sub-metre scale heterogeneities have been inferred in the oceanic mantle based on sampling of both ophiolites and abyssal peridotites. The ∼492 Ma Shetland Ophiolite Complex (SOC) contains a well-preserved mantle section that is dominated by harzburgite (∼70 vol.%) previously reported to have variable major and trace element compositions, yet dominantly chondritic initial 187Os/188Os compositions. To assess the preservation of compositional heterogeneities at sub-metre length-scales in the oceanic mantle, a ∼45 m2 area of the SOC mantle section was mapped and sampled in detail. Harzburgites, dunites and a pyroxenite from this area were analysed for lithophile and highly-siderophile element (HSE) abundances, as well as for 187Os/188Os ratios. Lithophile element data for most rocks are characteristic of supra-subduction zone (SSZ) metasomatic processes. Two dunites have moderately fractionated HSE patterns and suprachondritic γOs(492 Ma) values (+5.1 and +7.5) that are also typical of ophiolitic dunites generated by SSZ melt–rock interactions. By contrast, six harzburgites and four dunites have approximately chondritic-relative abundances of Os, Ir and Ru, and γOs(492 Ma) values ranging only from −0.6 to +2.7; characteristics that imply no significant influence during SSZ processes. Two harzburgites are also characterised by significantly less radiogenic γOs(492 Ma) values (−3.5 and −4), and yield Mesoproterozoic time of Re depletion (TRD) model ages. The range of Os isotope compositions in the studied area is comparable to the range reported for a suite of samples representative of the entire SOC mantle section, and approaches the total isotopic variation of the oceanic mantle, as observed in abyssal peridotites. Mechanisms by which this heterogeneity can be formed and preserved involve inefficient and temporally distinct melt extraction events and strong localised channelling of these melts.

O'Driscoll, B, Day JMD, Daly JS, Walker RJ, McDonough WF.  2009.  Rhenium-osmium isotope and platinum-group elements in the Rum Layered Suite, Scotland: Implications for Cr-spinel seam formation and the composition of the Iceland mantle anomaly. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 286(1-2):41-51.   10.1016/j.epsl.2009.06.013   Abstract

The Rum Layered Suite is a layered mafic–ultramafic body that was emplaced during Palaeogene North Atlantic margin rifting. It is a classic open-system magma chamber, constructed of 16 repeated coupled peridotite–troctolite units, some of which have laterally extensive ~ 2 mm-thick platinum-group element (PGE) enriched (~ 2 µg g− 1) Cr-spinel seams at their bases. In order to investigate Cr-spinel seam petrogenesis and enrichment of the PGE, abundances of these elements and Re–Os isotopes have been determined at three stratigraphic levels of the Rum Layered Suite that represent major magma replenishment events. Individual units preserve a range of initial 187Os/188Os ratios, demonstrating heterogeneity in the composition of replenishing magmas. Data for both the Cr-spinel seams and overlying silicates reveal that the processes that formed the Cr-spinel also concentrated the PGE, following magma replenishment. There is no evidence for structurally-bound PGE in Cr-spinel. Instead, the PGE budget of the Rum Layered Suite is linked to base metal sulphides, especially pentlandite, and to PGE alloys contained within the Cr-spinel seams, but which exist as separate phases at Cr-spinel grain boundaries. The range in initial Os isotope compositions (γOs = 3.4 to 36) in the Rum Layered Suite can be successfully modelled by 5–8% assimilation of Lewisian gneiss coupled with changing PGE contents in the replenishing magmas associated with sulphide removal. Initial 187Os/188Os ratios for Rum rocks range from 0.1305 to 0.1349 and are atypical of the convecting upper mantle, but are within the range for recently erupted picrites and basalts from Iceland and Palaeogene picrites and basalts from Baffin Island, Greenland and Scotland. Thus, the Os isotope data suggest that the North Atlantic Igneous Province magmas were collectively produced from a mantle source with components that remained relatively unchanged in Os isotopic composition over the past 60 Ma, and that likely contain a recycled lithospheric component.

O'Driscoll, B, Garwood R, Day JMD, Wogelius RA.  2018.  Platinum-group element remobilisation and concentration in the Cliff chromitites of the Shetland Ophiolite Complex, Scotland. Mineralogical Magazine. 82:471-490.   https://doi.org/10.1180/minmag.2017.081.108   Abstract

The ~492 Ma Shetland Ophiolite Complex (SOC) contains an extensive mantle section, within which numerous podiform chromitite bodies formed during melt percolation in a supra-subduction zone setting. One of the SOC chromitite localities has an unusual style of platinum-group element (PGE) mineralisation. Specifically, the Cliff chromitite suite has relatively high (>250 ppm) Pt plus Pd, compared to other SOC chromitites. In this study, we use petrographic observation, mineral chemistry and X-ray microtomography to elucidate the petrogenesis of PGE-bearing phases at Cliff. The combined data reveal that the PGE at Cliff have likely been fractionated by an As-rich fluid, concentrating Pt and Ir into visible (0.1-1 μm) platinum-group minerals (PGM) such as sperrylite and irarsite, respectively. The high (>1 ppm) bulk rock concentrations of the other PGE (e.g., Os) in the Cliff chromitites suggests the presence of abundant fine-grained unidentified PGM in the serpentinised groundmass. The spatial association of arsenide phases and PGM with alteration rims on Cr-spinel grains suggests that the high Pt and Pd abundances at Cliff result from a late-stage low-temperature (e.g., 200-300°C) hydrothermal event. This conclusion highlights the potential effects that secondary alteration processes can have on modifying and upgrading the tenor of PGE deposits.