Episodic refertilization and metasomatism of Archean mantle: evidence from an orogenic peridotite in North Qaidam (NE Tibet, China)

Qing Xiong*, William L. Griffin, Jian Ping Zheng, Suzanne Y. O’Reilly, Norman J. Pearson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Episodic refertilization and metasomatism of depleted subcontinental lithospheric mantle (SCLM) is rarely revealed within a single orogenic peridotite. We have investigated the Shenglikou peridotite massif in the North Qaidam Orogen (NE Tibet, China) to understand its origin and secular re-enrichment history and possible links with global tectonism, using multiple chemical and isotopic techniques. The massif contains two main groups of rocks, one rich in olivine (Ol) and the other rich in pyroxene (Pyro). In situ Re–Os isotope analyses on sulfides and previous reported whole-rock Os data show the Shenglikou peridotite massif has an Archean origin. The Ol-rich group has Mg# up to 0.923, Al2O3 contents down to 0.55 wt%, low FeO contents, whole-rock HREE ~0.01–0.1 times chondritic values and high spinel Cr# (up to 0.71). Modeling suggests that the Ol-rich peridotites are residues after ~30–40 % melt extraction at ~1600–1500 °C and ≤5 GPa. Mineral compositions, oxygen-isotope compositions (δ18OV-SMOW = 5.7 ± 0.1 ‰) and attainment of Hf-isotope internal equilibration at ~1.5–1.4 Ga with initial ratios similar to that of depleted convective mantle indicate that the Ol-rich group was refertilized by silicate melts derived from the depleted asthenosphere at ~1.5–1.4 Ga, corresponding to one phase in the breakup of the Columbia supercontinent. On the other hand, chemical compositions and Hf–O isotopic signatures of the pyroxene-rich rocks suggest a second refertilization superimposed on the Archean lithospheric mantle at ~700 Ma, coeval with the global extension that affected Rodinia. Both groups show metasomatism by fluids, sourced from subducting slabs during the early Paleozoic convergence between the Qaidam and Qilian blocks. This study shows that the episodic refertilization and metasomatism of depleted Archean SCLM, temporally linked to supercontinental cycles, can be revealed in a single orogenic peridotite, and suggests that continental extension and convergence play an important role in the destruction of cratonic keels.

Original languageEnglish
Article number31
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015


  • Lithosphere evolution of northeastern Tibet
  • Mantle refertilization and metasomatism
  • North Qaidam Orogen
  • Orogenic peridotite
  • Sr–Nd–Hf–Os–O isotopes
  • Supercontinental cycles


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