Boninite is a mafic extrusive rock high in both magnesium and silica, thought to be usually formed in fore-arc environments, typically during the early stages of subduction. The rock is named for its occurrence in the Izu-Bonin arc south of Japan. It is characterized by extreme depletion in incompatible trace elements that are not fluid mobile (e.g., the heavy rare-earth elements plus Nb, Ta, Hf) but variable enrichment in the fluid mobile elements (e.g., Rb, Ba, K). They are found almost exclusively in the fore-arc of primitive island arcs (that is, closer to the ocean trench) and in ophiolite complexes thought to represent former fore-arc settings or at least formed above a subduction zone.

Boninite is considered to be a primitive andesite derived from melting of metasomatised mantle.

Similar Archean intrusive rocks, called sanukitoids, have been reported in the rocks of several early cratons.

Boninite typically consists of phenocrysts of pyroxenes and olivine in a crystallite-rich glassy matrix.

Boninite is defined by

Most boninite magma is formed by second stage melting in forearcs via hydration of previously depleted mantle within the mantle wedge above a subducted slab, causing further melting of the already depleted peridotite. Although a forearc environment is ideal for boninite genesis, other tectonic environments, such as backarcs, might be capable of forming boninite as well. The extremely low content of titanium, which is an incompatible element within melting of peridotite is the result of previous melting events that removed most of the incompatible elements from the residual mantle source. The first stage melting typically forms island arc basalt. The second melting event is partly made possible by the addition of hydrous fluids to the shallow, hot, depleted mantle, leading the enrichment in large ion lithophile elements in the boninite.

This page was last edited on 6 April 2018, at 01:27.
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