Melt inclusions in detrital spinel from the SE Alps (Italy-Slovenia): a new approach to provenance studies of sedimentary basins
Detrital spinel is a widespread heavy mineral in sandstones from the Maastrichtian-Middle Eocene sedimentary basins in the SE Alps. Chemistry of detrital spinels from the Claut/Clauzetto and Julian Basins (N Italy and NW Slovenia) is used to constrain petrological and geochemical affinities and tectonic provenance of the source rocks. In addition, we have analysed melt inclusion compositions in the detrital volcanic spinels to better constrain the nature of their parental magmas. This is the first study of melt inclusions in detrital spinels. Two principal compositional groups of detrital spinels are recognised based on their TiO2 and Fe2+/Fe3+; one derived from peridotites, the other from basaltic volcanics. Peridotitic spinels are more abundant and have TiO2<0.2wt% and high Cr/Cr+Al (40-90), characteristic of suprasubduction zone harzburgites. Significant chemical variations among volcanic spinels (TiO2 up to 3wt%, Al2O3 12-44wt%) suggest multiple sources, with geochemically distinct characteristics, including MORB-type and backarc basin basalts, subduction-related magmas and tholeiites produced during early continental rifting. Compositions of homogenised melt inclusions in spinels with TiO2>0.2 better distinguish the differences between the compositions of their host spinels and help to further clarify the geodynamic provenance of extrusive source rocks. Several compositional groups of melt inclusions have been recognised and represent diverse magmatism of marginal basins, including MORB- and subduction-related geochemical types, as well as magmas characteristic of early continental rifting. These results, combined with the data on regional ophiolitic complexes and tectonic reconstructions favour the Internal Dinarides of Yugoslavia as a possible source area for the SE Alps sediments.