Different tectonic evolution of fast cooling ophiolite mantles recorded by olivine-spinel geothermometry: case studies from Iballe (Albania) and Nea Roda (Greece)

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External Organisational units

  • University of Milano Bicocca
  • University of Milan


Mg-Fe 2+ diffusion patterns in olivine and chromite are useful tools for the study of the thermal history of ultramafic massifs. In the present contribution, we applied the exponential modeling of diffusion patterns to geothermometry and geospeedometry of chromitite ores from two different ophiolite contexts. The Iballe ophiolite (Northern Albania) hosts several chromitite pods within dunites. Primary and re-equilibrated Mg#, estimated by using an exponential function, provided re-equilibration and primary temperatures ranging between 677 and 996 C for chromitites and between 527 and 806 C for dunites. Cooling rates for chromitites are higher than for dunites, suggesting a different genesis for the two lithologies, confirmed also by spinel mineral chemistry. Chromitites with MORB affinity formed in a SSZ setting at a proto-forearc early stage, explaining the higher cooling rates, while dunites, with boninitic affinity, were formed deeper in the mantle in a more mature subduction setting. At the Nea Roda ophiolite (Northern Greece) olivine in chromitites do not show Mg-Fe variations, and transformation into ferrian chromite produced “fake” diffusion patterns within chromite. The absence of diffusion patterns and the low estimated temperatures (550–656 C) suggest that Nea Roda chromitites were completely re-equilibrated during an amphibolite-facies metamorphic event that obliterated all primary features.


Original languageEnglish
Article number64
Number of pages21
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2022