On the long-distance transport of Ferrar magmas

The distribution and geochemical relationships of the Early Jurassic Ferrar large igneous province (LIP) are examined and it is concluded that they support the lateral flow model for the emplacement of the province, with a source along the strongly magmatic Early Jurassic Antarctica–Africa rifted margin. Published data and new analyses from the Pensacola Range are used to show that the dominant magma type in the Ferrar, the Mount Fazio chemical type (MFCT), occurs in the Theron Mountains, Shackleton Range, Whichaway Nunataks, Pensacola Mountains (all Antarctica) and South Africa, as well as well-known outcrops in Victoria Land, Antarctica, SE Australia and New Zealand. Chemical compositions are shown to be somewhat varied, but similar enough for them to be considered as representing closely related magmas. Examination of geochemical trends with distance from the interpreted magma source indicates that Mg# and MgO abundances decline with distance travelled, and it is argued that this is consistent with the lateral flow model. The Scarab Peak chemical type (SPCT), which occurs as sills in the Theron Mountains and Whichaway Nunataks, and as lavas in Victoria Land, is geochemically very homogeneous. Despite this, Mg#, MgO, Ti/Y and Ti/Zr all fall with distance from the interpreted source, consistent with fractional crystallization occurring during the lateral flow of the magmas. Flow took place in dykes or (more likely) sills. No feeder dyke swarm has been identified. The distances flowed, at least 4100 km for MFCT and 3700 km for SPCT, are the longest interpreted lateral magma flows on Earth.


Publication status:
Authors: Leat, Philip T.

Editors: Thomson, K., Petford, N.

On this site: Philip Leat
1 January, 2008
In: Thomson, K., Petford, N. (eds.). Structure and emplacement of high-level magmatic systems, London, Geological Society of London, 45-61.
Link to published article: