We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Contrasting TiO2 compositions in early cenozoic mafic sills of the Faroe Islands : an example of basalt formation from distinct melting regimes.

Hansen, Jógvan and Davidson, Jon and Jerram, Dougal and Ottley, Christopher and Widdowson, Mike (2019) 'Contrasting TiO2 compositions in early cenozoic mafic sills of the Faroe Islands : an example of basalt formation from distinct melting regimes.', Earth sciences., 8 (5). pp. 235-267.


The Paleocene lava succession of the Faroe Islands Basalt Group (FIBG), which is a part of the North Atlantic Igneous Province (NAIP), is intruded by numerous basaltic sills. These can be grouped into three main categories according to their geochemical characteristics: A low-TiO2 sill category (TiO2 = 0.7-0.9), a relatively high-TiO2 sill category (TiO2 = 1.95-2.6) and an intermediate-TiO2 sill that displays major element compositions lying between the other two categories. Mantle normalised plots for the high-TiO2 and low-TiO2 sills display relatively uniform flat LREE trends and slightly steeper HREE slopes for high-TiO2 relative to low-TiO2 sills. The intermediate-TiO2 Morskranes Sill is LREE depleted. Mantle normalised trace elements of low-TiO2 sill samples define positive Eu and Sr anomalies, whereas high-TiO2 sill samples display negative anomalies for these same lements. Different Nb and Ta anomalies (positive versus negative) in many high-TiO2 versus low-TiO2 sill samples suggest various metasomatism of their sources prior to partial melting. The intermediate-TiO2 sill displays noticeably lower 87Sr/86Sr, 206Pb/204Pb and 208Pb/204Pb ratios relative to both the high-TiO2 and the low-TiO2 sill samples. Pb isotope compositions displayed by local contaminated basaltic lavas imply that some of these assimilated distinct crustal material from E Greenland or basement from NW Britain, while others probably assimilated only distinct E Greenland type of crustal material. A third crustal source of E Greenland or Rockall-type basement could be required in order to explain some of the range in lead isotopes displayed by the intermediate-TiO2 Morskranes Sill. Geochemical modelling suggest that Faroese high-TiO2 sills, could have formed by ~4 to 7.5% batch melting of moderately fertile lherzolites, while 16 to 21% batch melting fertile mantle sources could explain geochemical compositions of Faroese low-TiO2 sills. The intermediate-TiO2 sill samples could have formed by a range of 6 to 7% batch melting of a depleted mantle source, probably with a composition comparable to sources that gave rise to local low-TiO2 and intermediate-TiO2 host-rocks. Most Faroese sill samples probably developed outside the garnet stabilitry field and probably formed by batch melting of mantle materials comparable in composition to those reported for the sub-continental lithospheric mantle (SCLM) previously at depths of ≤ 85 km. Relative enrichments in LREE (and LILE in general), and their varying Nb and Ta anomalies point to sources affected by metasomatism.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(VoR) Version of Record
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution.
Download PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:Copyright © 2019 Authors retain the copyright of this article. This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date accepted:23 September 2019
Date deposited:12 November 2019
Date of first online publication:09 October 2019
Date first made open access:12 November 2019

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar