Minerals occurring in dry and modally metasomatized spinel lherzolites from western Victoria have been analysed by proton microprobe for Ni, Cu, Zn, Ga, Rb, Sr, Y, Zr, Nb, Ba, Pb, Br, rare-earth elements (REE), Th and U. Mass-balance calculations demonstrate that these trace elements are contained in specific acceptor minerals and do not occur in significant concentrations at clean grain boundaries. The level of particular trace elements in the rock depends on the presence of specific phases: for example high levels of REE, Sr (and U, Th, Br) require apatite, while Ba, Nb and Ta are strongly concentrated in amphibole±mica. Mantle metasomatism in these spinel lherzolites is inferred to result from an open-system process involving infiltration of fluids released by crystallizing silicate melts. This process produces metasomatic zones with different modal mineralogy and hence greatly different trace-element signatures. The data demonstrate that large-ion-lithophile (LIL) and high-field strength (HFS) elements in metasomatized spinel lherzolites are strongly concentrated in non-refractory phases, which will break down easily in heated volumes such as the walls of magma conduits. The heterogeneity observed in trace-element patterns of intraplate alkali basaltic rocks may not reflect source heterogeneity, but may result largely from contamination by metasomatized mantle wall rock. The KDs for most trace elements show little temperature dependence except for KDSr between orthopyroxene and clinopyroxene where KD decreases with increasing temperature. The generally uniform KDs can be used to test for disequilibrium in such assemblages.