Carbonate-bearing mantle peridotite xenoliths from Spitsbergen: phase relationships, mineral compositions and trace-element residence

Dmitri A. Ionov*, Suzanne Y. O'Reilly, Yuri S. Genshaft, Maya G. Kopylova

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    133 Citations (Scopus)


    Carbonates of mantle origin have been found in xenoliths from Quaternary basaltic volcanoes in NW Spitsbergen. The carbonates range from dolomite to Mg-bearing calcite and have high Mg-numbers [Mg/(Mg + Fe) = (0.92-0.99)]. In some samples they occur interstitially, e.g. at triple junctions of silicate minerals and appear to be in textural and chemical equilibrium with host lherzolite. Most commonly, however, the carbonates make up fine-grained aggregates together with (Ca,Mg)-rich olivine and (Al,Cr,Ti)-rich clinopyroxene that typically replace spinel, amphibole, and orthopyroxene as well as primary clinopyroxene and olivine. Some lherzolites contain amphibole and apatite that appear to have formed before precipitation of the carbonates. In situ analyses by proton microprobe show very high contents of Sr in the clinopyroxene, carbonates and apatite; the apatite is also very rich in LREE, U, Th, Cl, Br. Disseminated amphibole in carbonate-bearing rocks is very poor in Nb and Zr, in contrast to vein amphibole and mica from carbonate-free rocks that are rich in Nb and Zr. Overall, the Spitsbergen xenoliths provide evidence both for the occurrence of primary carbonate in apparent equilibrium with the spinel lherzolites (regardless of the nature of events that emplaced them) and for the formation of carbonate-bearing pockets consistent with metasomatism by carbonate melts. Calcite and amorphous carbonate-rich materials occur in composite carbonate-fluid inclusions, veins and partial melting zones that appear to be related to fluid action in the mantle, heating of the xenoliths during their entrainment in basaltic magma, and to decompression melting of the carbonates. Magnesite is a product of secondary, post-eruption alteration of the xenoliths.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)375-392
    Number of pages18
    JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 1996


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