Subcontinental lithosphere reactivation beneath the Hoggar swell (Algeria): localized deformation, melt channeling and heat advection

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


In the Tahalgha district (southwestern Hoggar, Algeria), the Cenozoic volcanism has sampled subcontinental mantle beneath two crustal terranes that collided during the Pan-African orogeny: the "Polycyclic Central Hoggar" to the east and the "Western Hoggar" to the west. Two major lithospheric shear zones separate these terranes: the "4°35" and the "4°50" faults. Mantle xenoliths were collected between the two faults and across the 4°35 fault. In addition to a range in equilibrium temperatures and chemical compositions reported elsewhere, the samples show variations in their microstructures and crystallographic preferred orientations. Equilibrium temperatures and geochemical characteristics allow dividing them into low - (LT; 700-900. °C), intermediate - (IT; 900-1000. °C), and high-temperature (HT; 1000-1100. °C) xenoliths. The LT and IT peridotites occur on both sides of the 4°35 fault; they are usually coarse-grained. HT xenoliths are present only east of the 4°35 fault, in the narrow domain stuck between the two faults; they are fine-grained and extensively affected by annealing and melt-rock reactions. Microstructures and crystallographic textures indicate that deformation in the LT- and IT-xenoliths occurred through dislocation creep under relatively high-temperature, low-pressure conditions, followed by post-kinematic cooling. The fine-grained HT-xenoliths were deformed under relatively high-stress conditions before being annealed.Combining microstructural and CPO data with petrological and geochemical informations suggests that: (1) the LT xenoliths are remnants of the Neoproterozoic lithospheric mantle that preserved microstructural and chemical characteristics inherited from the Pan-African orogeny, and (2) the HT xenoliths record localized Cenozoic deformation associated with melt channeling through feed-back processes that culminated in the formation of high-permeability porous-flow conduits. Limited grain-growth in HT xenoliths suggests that advective heating of melt conduits was transient and rapidly followed by thermal relaxation due to conductive heat loss into wall-rock peridotites represented by the IT xenoliths, then by exhumation due to volcanic activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-33
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Hoggar swell
  • Localized deformation
  • Mantle xenoliths
  • Melt channeling
  • Microstructures and crystallographic fabric
  • Pan-African shear zones


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