Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




John W. Shervals


Investigations into ophiolite from California demonstrated that these ultramafic rocks formed within the mantle wedge of a subduction zone. Fore-arc locales are dominated by highly refractory peridotite, formed by hydrous-fractional partial melting that began in the garnet stability field and ended in the spinel stability field. These ophiolites also displayed enriched fluid-mobile element concentrations. Based on melt models, these elements should have extremely low concentrations, yet all pyroxenes display enriched compositions. A new algorithm was derived to model this fluid enrichment process, which represents the total addition of material to the mantle wedge source region and can be applied to any refractory mantle peridotite that has been modified by melt extraction and/or metasomatism. Investigations into the interaction of a mantle plume with continental lithosphere demonstrated that Yellowstone-Snake River Plain olivine tholeiites are compatible with genesis from a deep-seated mantle plume and were modeled via mixing of three components. The variable age, thickness, and composition of North American lithosphere guide this process. Drill core near Twin Falls, ID was examined to assess (1) the chemical evolution of olivine tholeiite, (2) how basalt evolves in continental settings, and (3) the dominant fractionation process, e.g., fractional crystallization, Raleigh fractional crystallization, or assimilation fractional crystallization.




This work made publicly available electronically on July 30, 2012.

Included in

Geology Commons