Petrogenesis of Proterozoic alkaline ultramafic rocks in the Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia

Eunjoo Choi*, Marco L. Fiorentini, Andrea Giuliani, Stephen F. Foley, Roland Maas, Stuart Graham

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The Yilgarn Craton and its northern margin contain a variety of petrogenetically poorly defined small-volume alkaline ultramafic rocks of Proterozoic age. This study documents the petrography, mineral and bulk-rock geochemistry and Nd-Hf-Sr-Pb isotope compositions of a selected suite of these rocks. They comprise ~2.03–2.06 Ga ultramafic lamprophyres (UML) and carbonatites from the Eastern Goldfields Superterrane (EGS), ~0.86 Ga UML from Norseman, and orangeites from the Earaheedy Basin, including samples from Jewill (~1.3 Ga), Bulljah (~1.4 Ga) and Nabberu (~1.8–1.9 Ga). The Proterozoic UML and carbonatites from the EGS and Norseman display very consistent chondritic to superchondritic Nd-Hf isotope compositions and trace-element ratios similar to modern OIBs, which are indicative of a common mantle source across this wide alkaline province. These Nd-Hf isotope compositions overlap with the evolution trends of global kimberlites through time, thus suggesting that this mantle source could be deep and ancient as that proposed for kimberlites. Conversely, the orangeites located in the Earaheedy Basin along the northern margin of the Yilgarn Craton display trace element signatures similar to subduction-related calc-alkaline magmas. Taken together with their highly enriched Sr-Nd-Hf isotope compositions, these characteristics indicate an ancient lithospheric mantle source, which was probably metasomatised by subduction-related fluids. As the ages of the Bulljah and Jewill orangeites overlap with the breakup of the Columbia supercontinent, it is proposed that orangeite magmatism was triggered by changes in plate stress conditions associated with this event. This study provides a comprehensive picture of the genesis of Proterozoic alkaline magmatism in the Yilgarn Craton, highlighting the complex tectono-magmatic evolution of this lithospheric block after its assembly in the Archean.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-217
Number of pages21
JournalGondwana Research
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Alkaline ultramafic magmatism
  • Yilgarn Craton
  • Proterozoic
  • Petrogenesis
  • Radiogenic isotopes


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