Heterogeneous lithospheric mantle metasomatism in the eastern North China Craton: He-Ar isotopes in peridotite xenoliths from Cenozoic basalts

Huayun Tang*, Takuya Matsumoto, Jianping Zheng, György Czuppon, Chunmei Yu, Chie Miyakawa, Xianquan Ping

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The abundances and isotopic compositions of Helium and Argon have been analyzed in a suite of fresh spinel peridotite xenoliths in Cenozoic basalts from the eastern North China Craton (NCC) by step-wise heating experiments, to investigate the nature of noble gas reservoirs in the subcontinental lithospheric mantle beneath this region. The xenoliths include one harzburgite collected from Hebi in the interior of the NCC, two lherzolites from Hannuoba at the northern margin of the craton, and three lherzolites from Shanwang and Nushan on the eastern margin. 3He/4He ratios in most of the xenoliths are similar to those of mid-ocean ridge basalts (MORB) or slightly lower (2-10.5 Ra, where Ra is the 3He/4He ratio of the atmosphere), suggesting mixing of MORB-like and radiogenic components. One olivine separate from Nushan has a helium value of 25.3 Ra, probably suggesting cosmogenic 3He addition. The 40Ar/36Ar ratios vary from atmospheric value (296) to 1625, significantly lower than the MORB value. Available data of the peridotite xenoliths indicate the He and Ar isotopic systematics of the mantle reservoirs beneath the NCC can be interpreted as mixtures of at least three end-members including MORB-like, radiogenic and atmospheric components. We suggest that the MORB-like noble gases were derived from the underlying asthenosphere during mantle upwelling, whereas the radiogenic and recycled components probably were incorporated into the lithospheric mantle during circum-craton subduction of oceanic crust. Available data suggest that the MORB-like fluids are better preserved in the interior of the NCC, whereas the radiogenic ones are more prevalent at the margins. The Paleo-Asian ocean subduction system probably was responsible for the enriched and recycled noble gas signatures on the northern margin of the craton, while the Pacific subduction system could account for the observed He-Ar isotopic signatures beneath the eastern part. Therefore, integration of helium and argon isotopes reflects heterogeneous metasomatism in the lithospheric mantle and demonstrates the critical importance of lithospheric mantle modification related to both circum-craton subduction of oceanic crust and asthenospheric upwelling beneath the eastern NCC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-196
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Asian Earth Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • He-Ar isotopes
  • Mantle metasomatism
  • North China Craton
  • Oceanic crust subduction
  • Peridotite xenoliths


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