Petrogenesis of the phonolitic rocks of the Velay oriental, France
The Velay oriental (Massif Central, France) is a basaltic plateau with abundant viscous phonolite extrusions. The plateau lavas grade from alkali basalt to mugearite, but intermediate compositions are volumetrically scarce. Pyroclastics are absent. The most complete plateau sections are in the south, while in the north intermediate lavas appear only as viscous, phenocryst-rich extrusions. The plateau lavas were erupted between 11.7Ma and 7.6Ma, the southern phonolites 8.5Ma- 6.5Ma and new data show that the northern phonolites were erupted between 13.3Ma and 10.5Ma. Basement uplift occurred during the plateau-building stage, due to the emplacement of magma chambers. Intermediate lavas are scarce because they remained in the magma chambers due to their density, whereas phonolite was able to rise hydrostatically. The magma chambers were within 5km of the surface. Phonolites are divided into miaskitic and agpaiitic types on the basis of their chemistry and petrography. They evolved from the basalt by crystal settling in the magma chambers, whereas the aphyric plateau lavas evolved by plating crystals onto their conduit walls as they flowed towards the surface. Sr-isotopes show that the basalt-phonolite series is uncontaminated, whereas the northern intermediate lavas evolved by assimilation-fractional-crystallisation. A suite of cumulate nodules was recovered from a pyroclastic unit, which is probably younger than the Velay Miocene lavas. They are related to the northern intermediate lavas, and belong to the "Group II" class of nodules. Geothermobarometry suggests that both the cumulates and the northern intermediate lavas crystallised at a depth of 15-20km and probably became contaminated due to the smaller temperature difference between the geotherm and granite solidus at that depth. The vast majority of the Velay lavas are identical to alkalic ocean-island lavas, geochemically unaffected by their passage through the lithosphere, but with their relative proportions at the surface controlled by the density contrast between the basalt and basement granite.