Alteration heterogeneities in peridotites exhumed on the southern wall of the Atlantis Massif (IODP Expedition 357)

The IODP Expedition 357 Science Party

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Serpentinized and metasomatized peridotites intruded by gabbros and dolerites have been drilled on the southern wall of the Atlantis Massif (Mid-Atlantic Ridge, 30°N) during International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 357. They occur in seven holes from five sites making up an east-west-trending, spreading-parallel profile that crosscuts this exhumed detachment footwall. Here we have taken advantage of this sampling to study heterogeneities of alteration at scales less than a kilometer. We combine textural and mineralogical observations made on 77 samples with in situ major and trace element analyses in primary and serpentine minerals to provide a conceptual model for the development of alteration heterogeneities at the Atlantis Massif. Textural sequences and mineralogical assemblages reveal a transition between an initial pervasive phase of serpentinization and subsequent serpentinization and metasomatism focused along localized pathways preferentially used by hydrothermal fluids. We propose that these localized pathways are interconnected and form 100 m- to 1 km-sized cells in the detachment footwall. This change in fluid pathway distribution is accompanied by variable trace element enrichments in the serpentine textures: deep, syn-serpentinization fluid-peridotite interactions are considered the source of Cu, As, and Sb enrichments, whereas U and Sr enrichments are interpreted as markers of later, shallower fluid- serpentinized peridotite interaction. Alteration of gabbros and dolerites emplaced in the peridotite at different lithospheric levels leads to the development of amphibole-, chlorite- and/or talc-bearing textures as well as enrichments in light rare earth elements, Nb, Y, Th, and Ta in the serpentine textures of the surrounding peridotites. Combining these observations, we propose a model that places the drill holes in a conceptual frame involving mafic intrusions in the peridotites and heterogeneities during progressive alteration and emplacement on the seafloor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1329-1358
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Petrology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jul 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) project No. 200021_163187 and SNF contributions to Swiss IODP.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


  • Atlantis Massif
  • Fluid-rock interaction
  • International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP)
  • Serpentinization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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