The origin of oceanic plagiogranites: coupled SIMS O and U-Pb isotope study of zircon from the Troodos Ophiolite, Cyprus

Yaron Katzir, Navot Morag, Tzahi Golan, Matthew A. Coble, Craig B. Grimes, Kouki Kitajima, John W. Valley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Oceanic plagiogranites have been suggested to form either by extreme fractional crystallization of mantle-derived mafic melts or by partial melting of hydrothermally-altered mafic crust. The uniform mantle-like delta (super 18) O(Zrn) of the modern lower oceanic crust (Grimes et al., 2011) could be viewed to favor closed system magma differentiation, however some ophiolites bear lower than mantle delta (super 18) O(Zrn) values, indicating a certain contribution of altered crust. In the Troodos ophiolite, Cyprus, plagiogranites are well exposed at the sheeted dike-gabbro transition zone and their chemical compositions extend along crystal fractionation trends of both tholeiitic and boninitic lava series (Freund et al., 2014). Crustal anatexis is evident, however, by the occurrence of migmatites at the roof of a gabbro intrusion (Gillis and Coogan, 2002). Here we report U-Pb ages, trace element contents and oxygen isotope ratios of individual zircons from five plagiogranite intrusions of the Troodos ophiolite using Secondary Ion Mass-Spectrometry (SIMS). The high spatial resolution of SIMS, 10 and 20 mm-diameter pits for oxygen and U-Pb isotope analysis, respectively, allows targeting pristine magmatic domains in oceanic zircons, thus assuring that the measured isotope ratios represent original magma composition and time of crystallization. Our results show that the main phase of tholeiitic magmatism in Troodos took place at 94+ or -1 Ma, about 3 Myr earlier than previously thought. An earlier phase of oceanic magmatism at 102+ or -1 Ma is suggested by the occurrence of zircon xenocrysts of that age with clear oceanic affinity. Boninitic magmatism shortly followed the main tholeiitic phase, starting at 92+ or -1 Ma. Average delta (super 18) O(Zrn) values in the Troodos plagiogranites range from 4.2 to 4.8 ppm. The lower values in this range are significantly lower than those expected in equilibrium with mantle-derived melt (4.7-5.9 ppm), indicating at least 10-25% contribution of hydrothermally altered diabase (delta (super 18) O=3 ppm). Plagiogranites thus form by mixing of fractionated mantle-derived and crustal melts. Remelting of approximately 10 Myr old oceanic crust as indicated by xenocryst bearing low-delta (super 18) O plagiogranite magma suggests that the Troodos ocean spreading center was longer-lived than previously thought, and its history included periods of slow amagmatic spreading.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGeological Society of America
PagesAbstract no. 139-9
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017

Publication series

NameAbstracts with Programs - Geological Society of America
PublisherGeological Society of America
ISSN (Print)0016-7592


  • Igneous and metamorphic petrology
  • Isotope geochemistry
  • Geochronology


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