Evidence for a carbonatite-influenced source assemblage for intraplate basalts from the Buckland Volcanic Province, Queensland, Australia

Joshua J. Shea*, Stephen F. Foley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
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Eastern Australia contains a widespread suite of primitive (MgO ≥ 7.5 wt.%) intraplate basaltic provinces, including those sited along the longest continental hotspot track on Earth (≈2000 km), the Cosgrove track. The Buckland volcanic province is the most southerly basaltic province on the Cosgrove track before a >1600 km stretch that contains only sparse leucitite volcanism. Buckland is also situated just northeast of the edge of thick cratonic lithosphere where it transitions to a thinner continental lithosphere (<110 km) to the east, which may influence the production of plume-derived melts. Here, analysis of minor and trace elements in olivines in alkali basalts and basanites from the Buckland Province are combined with whole-rock compositions to elucidate the mantle source assemblages, and to calibrate minor and trace element indicators in olivine for application to source mineralogy. Olivine xenocrysts show element concentration ranges typical for peridotites; Mn and Al concentrations indicate that the ambient mantle is spinel, rather than garnet, peridotite. High modal pyroxene content is indicated by high Ni, Zn/Fe, and Fe/Mn in olivines, while high Ti/Sc is consistent with amphibole in the source. Residual phlogopite in the source of the basanites is indicated by low K/Nb in whole rocks, while apatite contains high P2 O5 and low Rb/Sr (≥0.015) and Sr/La (≥13). The basanite source assemblage probably contains apatite, phlogopite, olivine, clinopyroxene and orthopyroxene, whereas the alkali basalt source assemblage is probably amphibole, olivine, orthopyroxene and clinopyroxene ± phlogopite ± apatite. Both source assemblages correspond broadly to olivine websterite, with the basanite source lying deeper than that for alkali basalt, explaining the occurrence of phlogopite in the source. This mineralogy, along with whole-rock Ti/Eu, Zr/Hf and P2O5/TiO2 values approaching those of natural carbonatites, provide evidence showing that the Buckland source consists of a peridotite that has interacted with a carbonate-rich melt whose origin may be in the deep lithosphere or asthenosphere beneath the craton. Similar enrichment processes are probably common throughout eastern Australia, controlling trace element characteristics in basaltic provinces. The topography of the underside of the lithosphere may play a significant role in determining mantle source assemblages by diverting and concentrating melt flow, and thus influence the location of basaltic provinces.

Original languageEnglish
Article number546
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2019. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • mantle metasomatism
  • carbonatite
  • olivine
  • trace elements
  • mantle source
  • pyroxenite
  • eastern Australia
  • intraplate basalts
  • Buckland


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