Progressive veining during peridotite carbonation: insights from listvenites in Hole BT1B, Samail ophiolite (Oman)
Abstract. The reaction of serpentinized peridotite with CO2-bearing fluids to form listvenite (quartz–carbonate rock) requires massive fluid flux and significant permeability despite an increase in solid volume. Listvenite and serpentinite samples from Hole BT1B of the Oman Drilling Project help to understand mechanisms and feedbacks during vein formation in this process. Samples analyzed in this study contain abundant magnesite veins in closely spaced, parallel sets and younger quartz-rich
... s. Cross-cutting relationships suggest that antitaxial, zoned magnesite veins with elongated grains growing from a median zone towards the wall rock are among the earliest structures to form during carbonation of serpentinite. Their bisymmetric chemical zoning of variable Ca and Fe contents, a systematic distribution of SiO2 and Fe-oxide inclusions in these zones, and cross-cutting relations with Fe oxides and Cr spinel indicate that they record progress of reaction fronts during replacement of serpentine by carbonate in addition to dilatant vein growth. Euhedral terminations and growth textures of magnesite vein fill, together with local dolomite precipitation and voids along the vein–wall rock interface, suggest that these veins acted as preferred fluid pathways allowing infiltration of CO2-rich fluids necessary for carbonation to progress. Fracturing and fluid flow were probably further enabled by external tectonic stress, as indicated by closely spaced sets of subparallel carbonate veins. Despite widespread subsequent quartz mineralization in the rock matrix and veins, which most likely caused a reduction in the permeability network, carbonation proceeded to completion within listvenite horizons.