Metasomatism in mantle xenoliths from the Letlhakane kimberlites: Estimation of element fluxes

E. Van Achterbergh, W. L. Griffin, J. Stiefenhofer

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    120 Citations (Scopus)


    A suite of metasomatised xenoliths from the Letlhakane kimberlite (Botswana) forms a metasomatic sequence from garnet peridotite to garnet phlogopite peridotite to phlogopite peridotite. Before the modal metasomatism, most of the Letlhakane xenoliths were depleted harzburgites that had been subjected to an earlier cryptic metasomatic event. Modal phlogopite and clinopyroxene ± Cr-spinel increase at the expense of garnet and orthopyroxene with increasing degrees of metasomatism. The most metasomatised xenolith is a wehrlite. With progressive modal metasomatism, the clinopyroxene becomes enriched in Sr, Sc and the LREE, orthopyroxene becomes depleted in Ca and Ni, but enriched in Al and Mn, and olivine becomes depleted in Al and V. Garnet chemical composition largely remains unchanged. The garnet replacement reaction seen in most xenoliths allows the measurement of the flux of trace elements through detailed modal analysis of the pseudomorphs. Mass balance calculations show that the modally metasomatised rocks became enriched in incompatible elements such as Sr, Na, K, the LREE and the HFSE (Ti, Zr and Nb). Major elements (Al, Cr and Fe) and garnet-compatible trace elements (V, Y, Sc, and the HREE) were removed during this metasomatic process. The modal metasomatism caused a strong depletion in Al, and the results challenge previous suggestions that this metasomatic process merely occurred within an Al-poor environment. The data suggest that the xenoliths represent the mantle wallrock adjacent to a major conduit for an alkaline basic silicate melt (with high contents of volatile and incompatible elements). The volatile and incompatible element-enriched component of this melt percolated into the wallrock along a strong temperature gradient and caused the observed range of metasomatism.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)397-414
    Number of pages18
    JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2001


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