New geochemical constraints on the origins of MARID and PIC rocks: implications for mantle metasomatism and mantle-derived potassic magmatism

Angus Fitzpayne*, Andrea Giuliani, Janet Hergt, David Phillips, Philip Janney

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


MARID (Mica-Amphibole-Rutile-Ilmenite-Diopside) and PIC (Phlogopite-Ilmenite-Clinopyroxene) rocks are unusual mantle samples entrained by kimberlites and other alkaline volcanic rocks. The formation of MARID rocks remains hotly debated. Although the incompatible element (for example, large ion lithophile element) enrichment in these rocks suggests that they formed by mantle metasomatism, the layered textures of some MARID samples (and MARID veins in composite xenoliths) are more indicative of formation by magmatic processes. MARID lithologies have also been implicated as an important source component in the genesis of intraplate ultramafic potassic magmas (e.g., lamproites, orangeites, ultramafic lamprophyres), due to similarities in their geochemical and isotopic signatures. To determine the origins of MARID and PIC xenoliths and to understand how they relate to alkaline magmatism, this study presents new mineral major and trace element data and bulk-rock reconstructions for 26 MARID and PIC samples from the Kimberley-Barkly West area in South Africa. Similarities between compositions of PIC minerals and corresponding phases in metasomatised mantle peridotites are indicative of PIC formation by pervasive metasomatic alteration of peridotites. MARID genesis remains a complicated issue, with no definitive evidence precluding either the magmatic or metasomatic model. MARID minerals exhibit broad ranges in Mg# (e.g., clinopyroxene Mg# from 82 to 91), which may be indicative of fractionation processes occurring in the MARID-forming fluid/melt. Finally, two quantitative modelling approaches were used to determine the compositions of theoretical melts in equilibrium with MARID rocks. Both models indicate that MARID-derived melts have trace element patterns resembling mantle-derived potassic magma compositions (e.g., lamproites, orangeites, ultramafic lamprophyres), supporting inferences that these magmas may originate from MARID-rich mantle sources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)478-493
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


  • Metasomatism
  • Lithospheric mantle
  • Ultramafic potassic magmatism


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