Oceanic basalts are the most abundant rock type found at the earth's surface, and as such they have been the subject of considerable research, particularly since the concept of sea-floor spreading became widely accepted. This book provides a review of these rocks, first dicussing how we sample the ocean floor and what we know about the structure of the oceanic crust, followed by an overview of the various regional settings (Pacific crust, Atlantic crust, marginal basins, seamounts and islands) and finally examines the main processes (and their interactions) which prevail during the generation and emplacement of oceanic basalt magmas. This is a volume for geologists, geochemists and geophysicists and a source of reference for advanced undergraduate students and postgraduates in these disciplines.
I Structure.- 1 Introduction and the ophiolite model.- 1.1 Historical perspectives.- 1.2 Oceanic lithospheric processes.- 1.3 Concluding statements.- 2 Surveying and sampling the ocean floor.- 2.1 Introduction.- 2.2 Surveying the ocean floor.- 2.3 Acoustic systems.- 2.3.1 Multibeam swath bathymetric systems.- 2.3.2 Signal amplitude measurements: side-scan sonar.- 2.4 Deep-sea photography.- 2.5 Geological information from bathymetric mapping: Chile Triple Junction region.- 2.6 Selecting sampling targets.- 2.7 Sampling methods.- 2.7.1 Dredging.- 2.7.2 Coring.- 2.7.3 Drilling.- 2.7.4 Submersible sampling.- 2.8 Concluding statements.- 3 Structure of the oceanic crust from geophysical measurements.- 3.1 Introduction.- 3.2 Ocean basins.- 3.3 Normal oceanic crust.- 3.4 Spreading centres.- 3.5 Fracture zone structure.- 3.6 Oceanic islands and swells.- 3.7 Concluding statements.- 4 Structure of the oceanic crust as deduced from ophiolites.- 4.1 Introduction.- 4.2 Alpine-type peridotites: variants and nomenclature.- 4.3 Seismic comparisons between oceanic crust and mantle.- 4.4 Implications for magmatic processes occurring at oceanic ridges.- 4.5 Implications for metamorphic processes occurring in the oceanic crust.- 4.6 Concluding statements.- II Processes.- 5 Mineralogy and crystallization of oceanic basalts.- 5.1 Introduction.- 5.2 Quench textures: the consequences of supercooling.- 5.3 Primary mineralogical controls on fractionation pathways of abyssal tholeiites.- 5.3.1 General course of fractionation in abyssal tholeiites: influence of magma chamber mixing.- 5.3.2 Advanced differentiation.- 5.3.3 Role of oxygen fugacity and oxide minerals.- 5.3.4 Apatite and sulphides.- 5.4 Liquid immiscibility and the significance of melt densities.- 5.5 Mantle-crust environments controlling oxygen fugacity.- 5.6 Alkalic magmatic lineages on seamounts.- 5.7 Concluding statements.- 6 Experimental phase petrology of mid-ocean ridge basalts.- 6.1 Introduction.- 6.2 Experimental studies at 1 atm.- 6.2.1 Experimental techniques.- 6.2.2 Results from experimental studies of basalts at 1 atm.- 6.2.3 Poorly known aspects of low pressure crystallization.- 6.2.4 Extreme differentiation of MORBs at low pressure.- 6.3 Experimental studies at high pressure.- 6.3.1 Experimental techniques.- 6.3.2 Results from experimental studies at high pressure.- 6.3.3 Poorly known aspects of high pressure equilibria relevant to MORBs.- 6.4 Concluding statements.- 7 Magmatic processes in oceanic ridge and intraplate settings.- 7.1 Introduction.- 7.2 Compositional diversity of oceanic magmas.- 7.2.1 Mid-ocean ridge basalt.- 7.2.2 Oceanic island basalt.- 7.3 Phase equilibrium and fluid dynamic constraints.- 7.3.1 Phase equilibria.- 7.3.2 Fluid dynamics.- 7.4 Melt generation: active versus passive.- 7.4.1 Passive melting at 'normal' ridge systems.- 7.4.2 OIB shields: rising mantle jets versus shear melting.- 7.5 Melt transport and storage in the oceanic lithosphere.- 7.5.1 Fractionation mechanisms.- 7.5.2 Mid-ocean ridge fractionation models.- 7.5.3 Intraplate fractionation models.- 7.6 Concluding statements.- 8 Metamorphic and hydrothermal processes: basalt-seawater interactions.- 8.1 Introduction.- 8.1.1 Importance of seawater-rock interactions.- 8.1.2 Controls of seawater-rock interactions.- 8.1.3 Effects of seawater-rock interactions.- 8.2 Low temperature alteration.- 8.2.1 Dredged basalts.- 8.2.2 Drilled basalts.- 8.3 High temperature reactions.- 8.3.1 Dredged basalts.- 8.3.2 Experimental evidence.- 8.3.3 Ophiolite evidence.- 8.3.4 Drilled basalts.- 8.4 Concluding statements.- III Environments.- 9 Oceanic islands and seamounts.- 9.1 Introduction.- 9.2 Hypotheses of intraplate volcanism.- 9.2.1 Mantle plume model.- 9.2.2 Propagating fracture model.- 9.3 Seamount distribution and morphology.- 9.4 Internal structure and composition.- 9.5 Basalt types.- 9.6 Geochemical features.- 9.6.1 Incompatible element abundances.- 9.6.2 Rare earth elements.- 9.6.3 Highly incompatible e
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