Melting and dynamic metasomatism of mixed harzburgite + glimmerite mantle source: Implications for the genesis of orogenic potassic magmas

Michael W. Förster*, Dejan Prelević, Harald R. Schmück, Stephan Buhre, Marina Veter, Regina Mertz-Kraus, Stephen F. Foley, Dorrit E. Jacob

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


Tectonically young, orogenic settings are commonly the sites of post-collisional silica-rich ultrapotassic magmas with extreme K2O-contents of up to 9wt% and K2O/Na2O>2. Many experimental studies investigating the generation of these melts have concentrated on melting of homogenous phlogopite bearing peridotites, whereas geochemical signatures indicate the involvement of at least two types of source rocks: ultra-depleted and K and trace elements-enriched ones. We report the results of melting experiments at 1-2GPa of mixed glimmerite and harzburgite, in which these rock types make up two halves each capsule. Melting begins in the glimmerite, and its metasomatic effects on the harzburgite are apparent at 1100°C even before melt pools are visible. The first melts are Na-rich, seen in zoning of olivines and as growth of clinopyroxene in the harzburgite, but change at higher degrees of melting to produce a typical lamproite-like melt with K2O>10 wt%. A major advantage of this study is the preservation of distinct melts in different parts of the capsule, which reflect a process of dynamic metasomatism: within the harzburgite matrix, the infiltrating melt derived from melting of the glimmerite changes consistently with the distance of travel through the harzburgite, enabling quantification of the metasomatic effects as an increase in SiO2 and K2O. This results principally from assimilation of orthopyroxene, which increases the Ol/Opx ratio of the residual harzburgite. The effects of quench olivine growth are recognizable and can be quantified due to a step-change in composition at the glimmerite/harzburgite border: the large total surface area of olivine and small melt fraction mean that the amount of quench olivine is high within the harzburgite, but negligible in the almost completely molten glimmerite. Melts of the glimmerite contain up to 8-10wt% K2O and 53wt% SiO2, which increase to 55-56 wt% after interaction with the harzburgite. Mediterranean lamproites resemble melts of glimmerite, whereas melts that have interacted with harzburgite are more similar to less potassic, but more SiO2-rich shoshonites of the Mediterranean region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-191
Number of pages10
JournalChemical Geology
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


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