Geochemistry and petrogenesis of the early Tertiary lava pile of the Isle of Mull, Scotland
Major and trace element analyses and strontium isotope ratios are presented for twenty-four samples of lavas and plugs from the early Tertiary lava pile in Mull. The samples were selected on the basis of petrographic freshness from a large collection from outside the hydrothermally altered “zone of pneumatolysis” which occupies the central region of the volcanic complex. Most of the analyses yield normative hypersthene and we argue that these are essentially unaltered magmatic compositions. The analytical data indicate that the samples may be divided into three groups on the basis of major element chemistry, initial 87Sr/86Sr ratios and correlations between lithophile element contents. Group I comprises an alkaline series (basalt-hawaiite-mugearite) with extremely low initial 87Sr/86Sr ratios (≦0.7030) and generally low lithophile element contents. Apart from their alkalinity and high Sr and Zr contents these samples have affinities with abyssal tholeiites. Group II contains hypersthene normative basalts with more tholeiitic characteristics but (as in the case of the Skye Main Lava Series) the more evolved rocks are trachytes. This group is characterized by more normal levels of lithophile element concentrations and relatively high initial 87Sr/86Sr ratios of about 0.7055. Group III is less clearly defined and contains basalts that are generally sparsely olivine-phyric and in most chemical respects fall between Group I and Group II-including initial 87Sr/86Sr ratios (0.7033 to 0.7043). They may represent mixtures of Group I and Group II type sources or magmas. Groups I and II appear to be similar, respectively, to the relatively sodic iron-rich and the relatively potassic ironpoor silica enrichment trends distinguished in the Skye Main Lava Series. In the Group I magma series the behaviour of Y and Sr relative to other incompatible elements can only be explained by differential partial melting of a deep garnet-lherzolite mantle source. Fractional crystallization has undoubtedly occurred at some stage during the ascent of these magmas from the mantle, as indicated by the behaviour of Ni and Cr, but has not been a major factor in the production of evolved magma compositions. The Group II magmas appear to have originated from a source more enriched in lithophile elements, and a relatively shallow (< 50 km) plagioclase-lherzolite mantle source is suggested for these magmas because they have Sr/Ba ratios between one and two orders of magnitude lower than those characteristic of Group I. Rb-Sr systematics suggest that the vertical heterogeneity of the mantle which was largely responsible for the chemical differences between these three groups may have existed for a very long time prior to Tertiary magmatism.