Origin of High-Alumina Basalt, Andesite, and Dacite Magmas

Science  30 Oct 1964:
Vol. 146, Issue 3644, pp. 635-637
DOI: 10.1126/science.146.3644.635


The typical volcanic rocks of most island arcs and eugeosynclines, and of some continental environments, are basalt, andesite, and dacite, of high alumina content. The high-alumina basalt differs from tholeiitic basalt primarily in having a greater content of the components of calcic plagioclase. Laboratory data indicate that in the upper mantle, below the level at which the basaltic component of mantle rock is transformed by pressure to eclogite or pyroxenite, the entire basaltic portion probably is melted within a narrow temperature range, but that above the level of that transformation plagioclase is melted selectively before pyroxene over a wide temperature range. The broad spectrum of high-alumina magmas may represent widely varying degrees of partial melting above the transformation level, whereas narrow-spectrum tholeiite magma may represent more complete melting beneath it.