Major and trace elements and water contents were analyzed in 16 peridotite xenoliths embedded by the Cenozoic basalts in Pingnan (southeastern Guangxi Province), to constrain the chemical composition and evolution of the lithospheric mantle located in the central part of the South China Block (SCB). The peridotites are mainly moderately refractory harzburgites and lherzolites (Mg#-Ol = 90.3–91.7) and minor fertile lherzolites (Mg#-Ol = 88.9–89.9). Clinopyroxenes in the peridotites show LREE-depleted pattern, and commonly exhibit negative anomalies in Nb and Ti, suggesting the peridotites probably represent residues after 1–10% of partial melting without significant mantle metasomatism. Water contents range from 146 to 237 ppm wt. H2O in clinopyroxene, and from 65 to 112 ppm wt. H2O, in orthopyroxene but are below detection limit (2 ppm wt. H2O) in olivine. Calculated bulk water contents, based on the mineral modes and partition coefficient, range from 14 to 83 ppm wt. H2O (average 59 ppm wt. H2O). There is a correlation between melting indices (such as Mg#-Ol, Ybn in clinopyroxene) and water contents in clinopyroxene and orthopyroxene, but no correlation is observed between the whole-rock water contents and the redox state (Fe3+/∑Fe ratios in spinel), suggesting that water contents in the peridotites are mainly controlled by the degree of partial melting rather than by oxygen fugacity. The lithospheric mantle beneath the interior of the SCB may not be compositionally stratified; fertile and moderately refractory mantle coexist at the similar depths. Geochemical data and water contents of the studied peridotites are similar to the proposed MORB source and indicate that the ancient refractory lithospheric mantle was irregularly eroded or reacted by the upwelling asthenosphere, and eventually replaced by juvenile fertile accreted mantle through the cooling of the asthenosphere.
- Water contents
- Peridotite xenoliths
- Partial melting
- Mantle evolution
- Interior of the South China Block