Cr-pyrope garnets in the lithospheric mantle 2. Compositional populations and their distribution in time and space

Bill Griffin, Nicholas Fisher, JH Friedman, Sue O'Reilly, CG Ryan

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Three novel statistical approaches (Cluster Analysis by Regressive Partitioning [CARP], Patient Rule Induction Method [PRIM], and ModeMap) have been used to define compositional populations within a large database (n>13,000) of Cr-pyrope garnets from the subcontinental lithospheric mantle (SCLM). The variables used are the major oxides and proton-microprobe data for Zn, Ga, Sr, Y, and Zr. Because the rules defining these populations (classes) are expressed in simple compositional variables, they are easily applied to new samples and other databases. The classes defined by the three methods show strong similarities and correlations, suggesting that they are statistically meaningful. The geological significance of the classes has been tested by classifying garnets from 184 mantle-derived peridotite xenoliths and from a smaller database (n>5400) of garnets analyzed for >20 trace elements by laser ablation microprobe-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LAM-ICPMS). The relative abundances of these classes in the lithospheric mantle vary widely across different tectonic settings, and some classes are absent or very rare in either Archean or Phanerozoic SCLM. Their distribution with depth also varies widely within individual lithospheric sections and between different sections of similar tectonothermal age. These garnet classes therefore are a useful tool for mapping the geology of the SCLM. Archean SCLM sections show high degrees of depletion and varying degrees of metasomatism, and they are commonly strongly layered. Several Proterozoic SCLM sections show a concentration of more depleted material near their base, grading upward into more fertile lherzolites. The distribution of garnet classes reflecting low-T phlogopite-related metasomatism and high-T melt-related metasomatism suggests that many of these Proterozoic SCLM sections consist of strongly metasomatized Archean SCLM. The garnet-facies SCLM beneath Phanerozoic terrains is only mildly depleted relative to Primitive Upper Mantle (PUM) compositions. These data emphasize the secular evolution of SCLM composition defined earlier [Griffin et al., 1998, 1999a] and suggest that at least part of this evolutionary trend reflects reworking and refertilization of SCLM formed in the Archean time.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1073
Pages (from-to)1-35
Number of pages35
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2002


  • garnet
  • lithospheric mantle
  • trace elements
  • cluster analysis
  • mantle evolution
  • geochemistry : chemical evolution
  • geochemistry : composition of the mantle
  • geochemistry : planetary geochemistry (5405,5410,5704,5709,6005,6008)
  • geochemistry : trace elements (3670)


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