Eclogite and pyroxenite xenoliths from off-craton kimberlites near the Kaapvaal Craton, South Africa

Christel Emma Tinguely, Michel Grégoire*, Anton P. le Roex

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Mantle xenoliths brought to the surface by kimberlite magmas along the south-western margin of the Kaapvaal craton in South Africa can be subdivided into eclogites sensu stricto, kyanite eclogites and orthopyroxene eclogites, all containing omphacite, and garnet clinopyroxenites and garnet websterites characterised by diopside. Texturally, chemically (major elements) and thermally, we observe an evolution from garnet websterites (TEG = 742-781 °C) towards garnet clinopyroxenites (TEG = 715-830 °C) and to eclogites (TEG = 707-1056 °C, mean value of 913 °C). Pressures calculated for orthopyroxene-bearing samples suggest upper mantle conditions of equilibration (P = 16-33 kb for the garnet websterites, 18 kb for a garnet clinopyroxenite and 23 kb for an opx-bearing eclogite). The overall geochemical similarity between the two groups of xenoliths (omphacite-bearing and diopside-bearing) as well as the similar trace element patterns of clinopyroxenes and garnet suggest a common origin for these rocks. Recently acquired oxygen isotope data on garnet (δ18Ognt = 5.25-6.78 ‰ for eclogites, δ18Ognt = 5.24-7.03 ‰ for garnet clinopyroxenites) yield values ranging from typical mantle values to other interpreted as resulting from low-temperature alteration or precursors sea-floor basalts and associated rocks. These rocks could then represent former magmatic oceanic rocks that crystallised from a same parental magma as plagioclase free diopside-bearing and plagioclase-bearing crustal rocks. During subduction, these oceanic rock protoliths equilibrated at mantle depth, with the plagioclase-bearing rocks converting to omphacite and garnet-bearing lithologies (eclogites sensu largo), whereas the plagioclase-free diopside-bearing rocks converted to diopside and garnet-bearing lithologies (garnet websterites and garnet clinopyroxenites).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)811-821
Number of pages11
JournalComptes Rendus - Geoscience
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Eclogites
  • Garnet clinopyroxenites
  • Garnet websterites
  • Kaapvaal craton
  • South Africa
  • Xenoliths


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