Evolution Of Tholeiitic Diabase Sheet Systems In The Eastern United States- Examples From The Culpeper Basin, Virginia-Maryland, And The Gettysburg Basin, Pennsylvania

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Journal Article: Evolution Of Tholeiitic Diabase Sheet Systems In The Eastern United States- Examples From The Culpeper Basin, Virginia-Maryland, And The Gettysburg Basin, Pennsylvania

Abstract
High-TiO2, quartz-normative (HTQ) tholeiite sheets of Early Jurassic age have intruded mainly Late Triassic sedimentary rocks in several early Mesozoic basins in the eastern United States. Field observations, petrographic study, geochemical analyses and stable isotope data from three HTQ sheet systems in the Culpeper basin of Virginia and Maryland and the Gettysburg basin of Pennsylvania were used to develop a general model of magmatic differentiation and magmatic-hydrothermal interaction for HTQ sheets. The three sheet systems have remarkably similar major-oxide and trace-element compositions. Cumulus and evolved diabase in comagmatic sheets separated by tens of kilometers are related by igneous differentiation. Differentiated diabase in all three sheets have petrographic and geochemical signatures and fluid inclusions indicating hydrothermal alteration beginning near magmatic temperatures and continuing to relatively low temperatures. Sulfur and oxygen isotope data are consistent with a magmatic origin for the hydrothermal fluid. The three sheet systems examined apparently all had a similar style of crystal-liquid fractionation that requires significant lateral migration of residual magmatic liquid. The proposed magmatic model for HTQ sheets suggests that bronzite-laden magma was intruded in an upper crustal magma chamber, with bronzite phenocrysts collecting in the lower part of the magma chamber near the feeder dike. Early crystallization of augite and Ca-poor pyroxene before significant plagioclase crystallization resulted in density-driven migration of lighter residual magmatic liquids along lateral and vertical pressure gradients towards the upper part of the sheet. The influence of water on the physical properties of the residual liquid, including density, viscosity and liquidus temperature, may have facilitated the lateral movement more than 15 km up dip in the sheets. Exsolution of a Cl- and S-rich metal-bearing aqueous fluid from residual magma resulted in concentration and redistribution of incompatible and aqueoussoluble elements in late-stage differentiated rocks. This proposed hydrothermal mechanism has important economic implications as it exerts a strong control on the final distribution of noble metals in these types of diabase sheets.

Authors 
L. G. Woodruff, A. J. Froelich, H. E. Belkin and David Gottfried








Published Journal 
Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 1995





DOI 
Not Provided
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Citation

L. G. Woodruff,A. J. Froelich,H. E. Belkin,David Gottfried. 1995. Evolution Of Tholeiitic Diabase Sheet Systems In The Eastern United States- Examples From The Culpeper Basin, Virginia-Maryland, And The Gettysburg Basin, Pennsylvania. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. (!) .