Evolution of subcontinental lithospheric mantle beneath Eastern China

re-Os isotopic evidence from mantle xenoliths in Paleozoic kimberlites and Mesozoic basalts

Hong Fu Zhang*, Steven L. Goldstein, Xin Hua Zhou, Min Sun, Jian Ping Zheng, Yue Cai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

201 Citations (Scopus)


The ages of subcontinental lithospheric mantle beneath the North China and South China cratons are less well-constrained than the overlying crust. We report Re-Os isotope systematics of mantle xenoliths entrained in Paleozoic kimberlites and Mesozoic basalts from eastern China. Peridotite xenoliths from the Fuxian and Mengyin Paleozoic diamondiferous kimberlites in the North China Craton give Archean Re depletion ages of 2.6-3.2 Ga and melt depletion ages of 2.9-3.4 Ga. No obvious differences in Re and Os abundances, Os isotopic ratios and model ages are observed between spinel-facies and garnet-facies peridotites from both kimberlite localities. The Re-Os isotopic data, together with the PGE concentrations, demonstrate that beneath the Archean continental crust of the eastern North China Craton, Archean lithospheric mantle of spinel- to diamond-facies existed without apparent compositional stratification during the Paleozoic. The Mesozoic and Cenozoic basalt-borne peridotite and pyroxenite xenoliths, on the other hand, show geochemical features indicating metasomatic enrichment, along with a large range of the Re-Os isotopic model ages from Proterozoic to Phanerozoic. These features indicate that lithospheric transformation or refertilization through melt-peridotite interaction could be the primary mechanism for compositional changes during the Phanerozoic, rather than delamination or thermal-mechanical erosion, despite the potential of these latter processes to play an important role for the loss of garnet-facies mantle. A fresh garnet lherzolite xenolith from the Yangtze Block has a Re depletion age of ∼1.04 Ga, much younger than overlying Archean crustal rocks but the same Re depletion ages as spinel lherzolite xenoliths from adjacent Mesozoic basalts, indicating Neoproterozoic resetting of the Re-Os system in the South China Craton.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-293
Number of pages23
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Eastern China
  • Mantle xenoliths
  • PGEs
  • Re depletion ages
  • ReØisotopes
  • Subcontinental lithospheric mantle

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