Lithospheric mantle modification during Cenozoic rifting in Central Europe

evidence from the ksie{ogonek}ginki nephelinite (SW Poland) xenolith suite

Jacek Puziewicz*, Jürgen Koepke, Michel Grégoire, Theodoros Ntaflos, Magdalena Matusiak-małek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)


The Miocene Ksie{ogonek}ginki nephelinite in SW Poland is part of the Central European Volcanic Province and occurs at the NE termination of the Cenozoic Ohře (Eger) Rift in the NW part of the Bohemian Massif. It contains numerous pyroxenite and peridotite xenoliths and clinopyroxene megacrysts. Pyroxenites (mostly olivine clinopyroxenites with no primary orthopyroxene) commonly have cumulate textures. Wehrlite and websterite xenoliths, texturally and chemically related to the pyroxenite suite, contain volcanic-textured intercumulus material similar to that of the host nephelinite. The Mg/(Mg+Fe) ratios of clinopyroxenes from the pyroxenite suite are 0·81-0·93; these are low-calcium]Ca 0·72-0·82 atoms per formula unit (a.p.f.u.)] and contain 0·22-0·37 a.p.f.u. Al. Clinopyroxene rare earth element (REE) patterns are slightly enriched in middle REE (MREE) and light REE (LREE) relative to heavy REE (HREE) (Sm. N/Yb. N=2·4-4·3, La. N/Yb. N=1·7-3·0) and are deflected downwards from Pr/Nd to La. The whole-rock REE patterns of the pyroxenite xenoliths are identical and show slight enrichment in LREE relative to HREE (La. N/Yb. n=3-5). The wehrlite cumulates are more LREE-enriched (La. N/Yb. n=13) and their REE patterns are identical to those of the host nephelinite. The peridotite xenoliths exhibit a range of textures from protogranular to mylonitic. Typically the peridotites (mostly harzburgites) consist of domains of olivine I (Fo. 88·9-91·9) and orthopyroxene I plus interstitial, texturally later clinopyroxene I [both with Mg/(Mg+Fe)=0·89-0·93] and rare spinel [Cr/(Cr+Al)=0·35-0·62]. The REE patterns of clinopyroxene I are similar to those of the pyroxenite suite. Fine grains of olivine II, commonly with forsterite contents identical to those of olivine I, but enriched in Ca, occur at the contacts between olivine I grains and in interstices or pools with glass. Clinopyroxene I commonly has spongy rims of clinopyroxene II, which are richer in Mg and poorer in Na. The peridotite xenoliths contain sparse fine-grained micrometre- to millimetre-scale aggregates consisting of (1) spinel, olivine II, clinopyroxene III and altered glass ± titanian biotite or (2) plagioclase, olivine II and clinopyroxene III ± glass. Olivine I in xenoliths containing these aggregates is typically Fo. 85·6-89·4, and the Mg/(Mg+Fe) ratio of pyroxenes is similar to that of olivine. The lithospheric peridotitic mantle beneath Ksie{ogonek}ginki was infiltrated by alkaline silicate melts similar to the nephelinite lava prior to and during the volcanism. Pyroxenite cumulates crystallized from the melt in places where the flow was channelized. Locally melt infiltration was pervasive, leading to 'Fe-metasomatism' of the peridotites, which lowered the Fo content of the olivine to c. 86 %. The metasomatism was cryptic, and only the clinopyroxene trace element content was modified in peridotites not affected by pervasive melt infiltration or not in contact with pyroxenites. The mantle section affected by the metasomatism was located at a depth of ~35-50 km and was thermally equilibrated (temperatures of 1060-1120°C are recorded in both the pyroxenite and peridotite suites). The fine-grained aggregates are interpreted as remnants of the interstitial melt frozen after entrainment of the xenoliths during the eruption of the host nephelenite; they show that some of the peridotites resided at pressures allowing plagioclase crystallization, whereas the others were brought to the surface directly from spinel peridotite facies depths. The Ksie{ogonek}ginki xenoliths provide a complete snapshot of the various effects of alkaline melt migrating through the lithospheric mantle during the initial stages of continental rifting.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberegr041
Pages (from-to)2107-2145
Number of pages39
JournalJournal of Petrology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Mantle xenolith
  • Metasomatism
  • Nephelinite
  • Poland

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