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Major chemical characteristics of Mesozoic Coast Range ophiolite in California

December 31, 1974

Sixty-four major element analyses of rocks representative of the Coast Range ophiolite in California were compared with analyses of other onland ophiolite sequences and those of rocks from oceanic ridges. The rocks can be classed in five groups harzburgite-dunite, clinopyroxenite-wehrlite, gabbro, basalt-spilite, and keratophyre-quartz keratophyre which on various diagrams occupy nonoverlapping fields. The harzburgite-dunite from onland ophiolite and ocean ridges are comparable and very low in alkalies. Possible differentiation trends defined on AFM diagrams by other rocks from onland ophiolites and ocean ridges suggest two lines of descent: (1) A trend much like the calc-alkalic trend, though shifted somewhat toward higher iron, and (2) an iron-enrichment trend defined chiefly by the more iron-rich gabbros and amphibolite. MgO-variation diagrams for rocks from the Coast Range ophiolite further distinguish the iron-rich gabbros and amphibolite from the other rock groups and indicate that the iron enrichment, unlike that of the Skaergaard trend, is related to the formation of amphibole. Ophiolite sequences that include the most silicic rock types, such as quartz keratophyre, also exhibit the most pronounced dual lines of descent, suggesting that the silicic rocks and the amphibole-rich gabbros are somehow related. Although the major element chemistry of the Coast Range ophiolite is clearly like that of rocks dredged from oceanic ridges, it is not sufficiently diagnostic to discriminate among the choices of a spreading ridge, an interarc basin, or perhaps even the root zone of an island arc as the site of ophiolite formation.

Publication Year 1974
Title Major chemical characteristics of Mesozoic Coast Range ophiolite in California
Authors E. H. Bailey, M. C. Blake, Jr.
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Research of the U.S. Geological Survey
Index ID 70156493
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center