Fluid inclusions in mantle xenoliths

Tom Andersen*, Else Ragnhild Neumann

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    199 Citations (Scopus)


    Fluid inclusions in olivine and pyroxene in mantle-derived ultramafic xenoliths in volcanic rocks contain abundant CO 2-rich fluid inclusions, as well as inclusions of silicate glass, solidified metal sulphide melt and carbonates. Such inclusions represent accidentally trapped samples of fluid- and melt phases present in the upper mantle, and are as such of unique importance for the understanding of mineral-fluid-melt interaction processes in the mantle. Minor volatile species in CO 2-rich fluid inclusions include N 2, CO. SO 2. H 2O and noble gases. In some xenoliths sampled from hydrated mantle-wedges above active subduction zones, water may actually be a dominant fluid species. The distribution of minor volatile species in inclusion fluids can provide information on the oxidation state of the upper mantle, on mantle degassing processes and on recycling of subducted material to the mantle. Melt inclusions in ultramafic xenoliths give information on silicate-sulphide-carbonatite immiscibility relationships within the upper mantle. Recent melt-inclusion studies have indicated that highly silicic melts can coexist with mantle peridotite mineral assemblages. Although trapping-pressures up to 1.4 GPa can be derived from fluid inclusion data, few CO 2-rich fluid inclusions preserve a density representing their initial trapping in the upper mantle, because of leakage or stretching during transport to the surface. However, the distribution of fluid density in populations of modified inclusions may preserve information on volcanic plumbing systems not easily available from their host minerals. As fluid and melt inclusions are integral parts of the phase assemblages of their host xenoliths, and thus of the upper mantle itself, the authors of this review strongly recommend that their study is included in any research project relating to mantle xenoliths.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)301-320
    Number of pages20
    Issue number1-4
    Publication statusPublished - 2001


    • Carbon dioxide
    • Fluid inclusions
    • Silicate melts
    • Upper mantle


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