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Petrology and thermal structure of the Hawaiian plume from Mauna Kea volcano

Naturevolume 444pages605609 (2006) | Download Citation



There is uncertainty about whether the abundant tholeiitic lavas on Hawaii are the product of melt from peridotite or pyroxenite/eclogite rocks1,2. Using a parameterization of melting experiments on peridotite3 with glass analyses from the Hawaii Scientific Deep Project 2 on Mauna Kea volcano1, I show here that a small population of the core samples had fractionated from a peridotite-source primary magma. Most lavas, however, differentiated from magmas that were too deficient in CaO and enriched in NiO (ref. 2) to have formed from a peridotite source. For these, experiments indicate that they were produced by the melting of garnet pyroxenite, a lithology that had formed in a second stage by reaction of peridotite with partial melts of subducted oceanic crust2. Samples in the Hawaiian core are therefore consistent with previous suggestions that pyroxenite occurs in a host peridotite, and both contribute to melt production2,4. Primary magma compositions vary down the drill core, and these reveal evidence for temperature variations within the underlying mantle plume. Mauna Kea magmatism is represented in other Hawaiian volcanoes, and provides a key for a general understanding of melt production in lithologically heterogeneous mantle.

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I am grateful to A. Sobolev, M. Feigenson, M. Hirschmann, F. Frey and P. Asimow for discussions. I also thank A. Hofmann and A. Sobolev for critical comments.

Author information


  1. Department of Geological Sciences Rutgers University Piscataway, New Jersey, 08854, USA

    • Claude Herzberg


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Competing interests

Reprints and permissions information is available at www.nature.com/reprints. The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Claude Herzberg.

Supplementary information

  1. Supplementary Notes

    This file provides a detailed explanation of peridotite and pyroxenite modelling. (DOC 55 kb)

  2. Supplementary Table 1

    Compositions of liquids at the pseudoinvariant points in Figures S4-S6 (wt%) as simple CMAS “equivalents” of naturally-occurring lava compositions (DOC 22 kb)

  3. Supplementary Figure Legends

    This file contains text to accompany the below Supplementary Figures. (DOC 29 kb)

  4. Supplementary Figure 1

    Experimental data of Walter1 showing the CaO content of liquids as a function of melt fraction of fertile mantle peridotite KR-4003. (EPS 1125 kb)

  5. Supplementary Figure 2

    Experimental data of Walter1 showing howing the CaO and MgO contents of liquids in fertile mantle peridotite KR-4003. (EPS 1150 kb)

  6. Supplementary Figure 3

    Computed CaO and MgO contents of accumulated fractional melts of fertile peridotite. (EPS 1169 kb)

  7. Supplementary Figure 4

    Projections of experimental compositions at 2.5 and 3 GPa for which the liquidus phase has been determined, or the compositions of liquids determined by electron microprobe in equilibrium with specific liquidus phases shown. (EPS 1261 kb)

  8. Supplementary Figure 5

    Projections similar to Figure S4, but with experimental data of Pertermann and Hirschmann25 on silicic MORB-like eclogite at 3 GPa. (EPS 755 kb)

  9. Supplementary Figure 6

    Projections similar to those depicted in Figure S4, but for experimental data at 4 GPa. (EPS 1171 kb)

  10. Supplementary Figure 7

    A summary of experimental brackets in Figures S4-S6 at 3 and 4 GPa. (EPS 1176 kb)

  11. Supplementary Figure 8

    A projection from olivine into the plane Anorthite-Diopside-Enstatite30 of model pyroxenite primary magmas derived from HSDP2 glasses with MgO > 7.5% and whole rocks. (EPS 1238 kb)

  12. Supplementary Figure 9

    Projections of cotectic equilibria at 3 GPa from Figure S5 and basaltic crust used in the experiments of Pertermann and Hirschmann. (EPS 795 kb)

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