Primary Silica-rich Picrite and high-Ca boninite melt inclusions in pyroxenite veins from the Kamchatka sub-arc mantle

Antoine Benard, Oliver Nebel, D. A. Ionov, R. J. Arculus, N. Shimizu, N. Métrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Island arc picrites and boninites are magnesian magmatic rocks believed to be generated by high degrees of melting of depleted mantle sources fluxed by subduction-derived, volatile-rich components. These magmas can be probes of both the mantle wedge protoliths and subduction components, but are rare among other, usually more evolved, types of arc lavas. Furthermore, many arc picrites and boninites show evidence for late-stage differentiation prior to or during eruption, masking their primary, mantle-derived geochemical signatures. We report textural and chemical data on spinel-hosted melt inclusions of mantle origin in amphibole-bearing websterite veins cross-cutting spinel harzburgite xenoliths from the active andesitic Avacha volcano (south Kamchatka, Russia). The data are used to constrain the composition and origin of melts that formed the websterite veins in the sub-arc lithospheric mantle. The melt inclusions typically contain euhedral orthopyroxene and clinopyroxene and occasionally minor amphibole in silicate glass. The melt inclusions were homogenized using heating stages and gas-mixing furnaces. The homogenized glasses range from subalkaline primitive silica-rich picrite and high-Ca boninite (> 15 wt % MgO, 48-54 wt % SiO2) to rhyolite. High-Ca boninite glasses have moderate volatile and low heavy rare earth element contents and elevated Cs, Rb, Ba, U, Sr, and Li abundances, with extremely high U/Th. In turn, the glasses display no negative spikes in the high field strength elements Nb, Ta, Zr, Hf, and Ti. We show that the silica-rich picrite and high-Ca boninite liquids in this study formed by high degrees of melting (< 25%), at volatile under-saturation, of hybrid melt-depleted but silica-rich mantle sources at ≥1.5 GPa. The hybrid sources formed in two stages: first, by extraction of 15% melt from the convecting mantle to form a refractory protolith, which was subsequently enriched in silica via interaction with subduction-derived components prior to or during remelting in the mantle wedge. The subduction-derived components were enriched in fluid-mobile elements and probably oxidized. Overall, our results suggest that silica-rich picrites and high-Ca boninites can be primary melts in mature subduction zones and differentiate within the mantle wedge and the deep arc crust to form more evolved andesite magmas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1955-1982
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Petrology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Boninite
  • High field strength elements
  • Island arc
  • Mantle wedge
  • Mantle xenolith
  • Melt inclusions
  • Partial melting
  • Picrite
  • Pyroxenite
  • Subduction

Cite this