Magmatic peridotites and pyroxenites, Andong Ultramafic Complex, Korea: Geochemical evidence for supra-subduction zone formation and extensive melt-rock interaction

Scott A. Whattam, Moonsup Cho, Ian E.M. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


The Andong Ultramafic Complex (AUC) mainly comprises peridotites (wehrlites±plagioclase or spinel; or plagioclase+spinel) and related serpentinites with subordinate low-Al pyroxenites (clinopyroxenites, orthopyroxenites, and websterites). These rocks are compositionally similar to sub-continental lithospheric mantle peridotites and pyroxenites. Wehrlites formed predominantly by fractional crystallization processes within supra-subduction zone magmas and the pyroxenites are generally consistent with segregation and accumulation in similar magmas. Bulk rock ratios of Al2O3/SiO2 (0.01-0.03) and MgO/SiO2 (up to >1) exhibited by the wehrlites and serpentinites indicate crystallization from a refractory source that underwent high degrees of melt extraction. Spinel chemistry confirms this and demonstrates that wehrlite and clinoproxenite protoliths underwent approximately 20-23% and 12-15% partial melting, respectively. Wehrlites and serpentinites also preserve evidence of extensive melt-peridotite interaction manifest as bulk rock SiO2-depletions and FeOt-enrichments relative to mantle residua as well as low Mg# (0.39-0.45) spinels with variable Ti contents but constant Cr# (0.42-0.47). These features are identical to those of 'impregnated' plagioclase-peridotites of abyssal and sub-continental environments and compositional trends in spinel space imply reaction between secondary, MORB-like melts saturated in olivine+clinopyroxene or olivine and a harzburgitic protolith. High olivine:pyroxene (~3:1) and clinopyroxene:orthopyroxene ratios of the wehrlites coupled with chemical data dictate that reactions entailed orthopyroxene dissolution and olivine recrystallization. All AUC rock types exhibit primitive mantle-normalized incompatible element signatures characterized by LILE-enrichments, high fluid-mobile/immobile element ratios (Sr/Nd, Ba/La and Pb/Ce>1) and prominent HFSE (Nb, Zr, and Ti) depletions indicative of generation in a sub-arc environment within a supra-subduction zone system. A candidate for the associated arc-system is the one responsible for nearby arc-related Jurassic granitoids. Southeast-directed thrusting along the Andong Fault System may account for subsequent emplacement of the AUC into the Gyeongsang Basin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)599-618
Number of pages20
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Dec


  • Melt-rock reaction
  • Peridotite
  • South Korea
  • Supra-subduction zone (SSZ)
  • Ultramafic magmas
  • Volcanic arc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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