Lithosphere formation in the central Slave Craton (Canada): Plume subcretion or lithosphere accretion?

Sonja Aulbach*, William L. Griffin, Norman J. Pearson, Suzanne Y. O'Reilly, Buddy J. Doyle

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    44 Citations (Scopus)


    Major-element compositions of minerals in peridotite xenoliths from the Lac de Gras kimberlites provide constraints on the mode of lithosphere formation beneath the central Slave Craton, Canada. Magnesia contents of reconstructed whole rocks correlate positively with NiO and negatively with CaO contents, consistent with variable partial melt extraction. Alumina and Cr2O3 contents are broadly positively correlated, suggestive of melt depletion in the absence of a Cr-Al phase. Garnet modes are high at a given Al2O3 content (a proxy for melt depletion), falling about a 7 GPa melt depletion model. These observations, combined with high olivine Mg# and major-element relationships of FeO-poor peridotites (<7.5 wt%) indicative of melt loss at pressures >3 GPa (residual FeO content being a sensitive indicator of melt extraction pressure), and similar high pressures of last equilibration (∼4.2 to 5.8 a), provide multiple lines of evidence that the mantle beneath the central Slave Craton has originated as a residue from high-pressure melting, possibly during plume subcretion. Apparent low melt depletion pressures for high-FeO peridotites (>7.5 wt%) could suggest formation in an oceanic setting, followed by subduction to their depth of entrainment. However, these rocks, which are characterised by low SiO2 contents (<43 wt%), are more likely to be the result of post-melting FeO-addition, leading to spuriously low estimates of melt extraction pressures. They may have reacted with a silica-undersaturated melt that dissolved orthopyroxene, or experienced olivine injection by crystallising melts. A secular FeO-enrichment of parts of the deep mantle lithosphere is supported by lower average Mg# in xenolithic olivine (91.7) compared to olivine inclusions in diamond (92.6).

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)409-427
    Number of pages19
    JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007


    Dive into the research topics of 'Lithosphere formation in the central Slave Craton (Canada): Plume subcretion or lithosphere accretion?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this