Nature and evolution of the lithospheric mantle beneath thehoggar Swell (Algeria): a record from mantle xenoliths

Fatna Kourim*, Jean Louis Bodinier, Olivier Alard, Abderrahmane Bendaoud, Alain Vauchez, Jean Marie Dautria

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Peridotite xenoliths exhumed by Quaternary alkaline magmatism in the Tahalgha district, southern Hoggar, represent fragments of the subcontinental lithospheric mantle beneath the boundary between the two major structural domains of the Tuareg Shield: the 'Polycyclic Central Hoggar' to the east and the 'Western Hoggar', or 'Pharusian Belt', to the west. Samples were collected from volcanic centres located on both sides of a major lithospheric shear zone at 4°35' separating these two domains. Although showing substantial variations in their deformation microstructures, equilibrium temperatures and modal and chemical compositions, the studied samples do not display any systematic changes of these features across the 4°35'fault.The observed variations rather record small-scale heterogeneities distributed throughout the study area and reflecting the widespread occurrence of vein conduits and metasomatized wallrocks related to trans-lithospheric melt circulation during the Cenozoic. These features include partial annealing of pre-existing deformation microstructures, post-deformation metasomatic reactions, and trace-element enrichment, coupled with heating from 750-900°C (low-temperature lherzolites) to 900-1150°C (intermediate- T lherzolites and high-T harzburgites and wehrlites). Trace-element modelling confirms that the range of rare earth element (REE) variations observed in theTahalgha clinopyroxenes may be accounted for by reactive porous flow involving a single stage of basaltic melt infiltration into a light REE (LREE)-depleted protolith. Whole-rock compositions record the final entrapment of disequilibrium metasomatic melts upon thermal relaxation of the veins-wall-rock system. The striking correlations between equilibrium temperatures and trace-element enrichment favor a scenario in which the high-temperature peridotites record advective heat transport along melt conduits, whereas the intermediate- and lowtemperature lherzolites reflect conductive heating of the host Mechanical Boundary Layer. This indicates that the lithosphere did not reach thermal equilibrium, suggesting that the inferred heating event was transient and was rapidly erased by thermal relaxation down to the relatively low-temperature present-day geotherm. The low-T (< 900°C) deformed lherzolites (porphyroclastic to equigranular) are characterized by only incipient annealing and LREEdepleted clinopyroxene compositions.They were only weakly affected by the Cenozoic events and could represent relatively well-preserved samples from rejuvenated Pan-African lithosphere. Extensive lithospheric rejuvenation occurred either regionally during the Pan-African orogeny, as a result of lithospheric delamination or thermomechanical erosion after thickening, or more locally along the meridional shear zones.The low-TTahalgha lherzolites are comparable with lherzolites from Etang de Lherz, southern France, interpreted as lithospheric mantle rejuvenated by melt-induced refertilization during a late stage of theVariscan orogeny.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2249-2280
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Petrology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Hoggar swell
  • Lithosphere rejuvenation
  • Mantle metasomatism
  • Mantle xenolith
  • Pan-African orogeny
  • Peridotite
  • Rare earth elements
  • Tuareg Shield


Dive into the research topics of 'Nature and evolution of the lithospheric mantle beneath thehoggar Swell (Algeria): a record from mantle xenoliths'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this