Petrography, geochemistry, and provenance of the Chalki rocks in Kurdistan region, North Iraq
Outcrops of the Paleozoic Chalki volcanic rocks are restricted to part of the northern Thrust Zone of Iraq close to Iraqi-Turkish border. Petrographically, the volcanic rocks from the Chalki area are mainly layered, appearing fresh in the field and exhibiting some basaltic lava flows. Porphyritic, amygdaloidal, and microlite-porphyric are the main observed textures. Phenocrysts of primary phases (i.e., olivine, iron oxides) are in a groundmass of feldspars and clinopyroxene. Chalki Formation is intercalated with Pirispiki Formation which consists of thin to medium bedded, greenish gray marl, red mudstone, and veins of calcite. The Chalki rocks are mafic of theolitic basalt type. Geochemically, they have high chromium and nickel concentrations in most samples. Rare earth element (REE) patterns illustrate parallel to sub-parallel, moderately fractionated REE patterns. The low heavy REE (HREE) contents in the studied samples appear to be due to partial melting of metamorphosed oceanic crust leaving HREE-rich accessory minerals (i.e., garnet) as a residual phase in the source. No Eu anomalies were observed in the Chalki samples which may indicate a back-arc basin pattern. The non-subduction signature of the Chalki rocks is confirmed by the Nb/Yb versus Th/Yb diagram, which shows that most of the studied rocks fall in the compositional field of non-arc-related rocks—well within the field of the mid-ocean ridge basalt (MORB)-ocean island basalt (OIB) mantle array.