The Nuggihalli and Holenarsipur greenstone belts of the western Dharwar craton expose ultramafic–mafic rocks of the Mesoarchean. The rocks in these belts are geochemically considered as komatiites and komatiitic basalts with minor occurrences of tholeiitic and calc-alkaline basalts. The dominant ultramaficrocks of the Nuggihalli greenstone belt are layered and indicate fractionation processes at relatively shallower crustal levels. The Al-undepleted and Al-depleted signatures obtained could be attributed to magmatic differentiation processes and might be due to fractional crystallization of minerals such as hornblende and plagioclase, in addition to cumulus olivine and pyroxene. The chemical heterogeneity in the rocks of these greenstone belts might have therefore developed during the intrusion of the parental melts and their differentiation into a layered igneous complex. The differences in the lithological characteristics of the Holenarsipur and Nuggihalli greenstone belts can be explained by their different crustal levels of exposure. Presence of spinifex-textured komatiites need not necessarily imply that the sources have to be ultramafic and therefore of a deeper origin. This study indicates that the parental melts for unambiguous layered intrusive ultramafic–mafic complexes could be high-Mg basalts originating from relatively shallower levels. The probable geodynamic setting for the emplacement of the rocks of the two greenstone belts could be in a plume-modified mid-ocean ridge that was too thick and buoyant to be subducted, and the decompression-melted magma chamber developed igneous layering as the magma stalled in the lithosphere.
Volume 131, 2022
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