Multistage evolution of the European lithospheric mantle: new evidence from Sardinian peridotite xenoliths

Luigi Beccaluva*, Gianluca Bianchini, Massimo Coltorti, William Perkins, Franca Siena, Carmela Vaccaro, Marjorie Wilson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


Peridotite xenoliths entrained in Plio-Pleistocene alkali basalts from Sardinia represent fragments of the uppermost lithospheric mantle, and are characterised by an anhydrous four-phase mineral assemblage. They range in bulk rock composition from fertile spinel-lherzolites to residual spinel-harzburgites. The Sr-Nd isotope and trace element composition of clinopyroxene mineral separates varies between LREE-depleted samples with 87Sr/86Sr as low as 0.70262 and 143Nd/144Nd up to 0.51323 and LREE-enriched samples with 87Sr/86Sr up to 0.70461 and 143Nd/144Nd down to 0.51252. The available data suggest that all the studied peridotite samples suffered variable degrees of partial melting during Pre-Mesozoic times (based on Nd model ages relative to CHUR and DMM). The overprinted enrichment is related to a subsequent metasomatism, induced by fluids rising through the lithosphere that preferentially percolated the originally most depleted domains. Despite the occurrence of orogenic volcanism in the area, preferential enrichment in elements typically associated with slab derived fluids/melts (K, Rb, Sr, Th) relative to LREE has not been detected, and metasomatism seems to be more likely related to the infiltration of highly alkaline basic melts characterised by an EM-like Sr-Nd isotopic composition. Similar 87Sr/86Sr-143Nd/144Nd compositions, characterised by an EM signature, are observed in anorogenic mafic lavas and peridotite xenoliths from widespread localities within the "European" plate, whereas they have not previously been recorded in peridotite xenoliths and associated alkaline mafic lavas from the stable "African" lithospheric domain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-297
Number of pages14
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


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