The oxidation state of subcontinental mantle: oxygen thermobarometry of mantle xenoliths from central Asia

D. A. Ionov*, B. J. Wood

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    105 Citations (Scopus)


    The oxygen fugacities of 48 mantle xenoliths from 5 localities in southern Siberia (USSR) and Mongolia have been determined. Ferric iron contents of spinels were measured by 57Fe Mössbauer spectroscopy and oxygen fugacities calculated from spinel-olivineorthopyroxene equilibrium. The samples studied represent the major types of upper mantle lithologies including spinel and garnet peridotites and pyroxenites, fertile and depleted peridotites and anhydrous and metasomatized samples which come from diverse tectonic settings. Extensive geochemical and isotope data are also available for these samples. Oxygen fugacity values for most central Asian xenoliths fall within the range observed in peridotite xenoliths from other continental regions at or slightly below the FMQ buffer. However, xenoliths from the Baikal rift zone are the most reduced among xenoliths for which Mössbauer data on spinels are available. They yield fO2 values similar to those in oceanic peridotites and MORBs, while xenoliths in other occurrences have higher fO2s. In general, the continental lithosperic mantle is more oxidized than MORB-like oceanic mantle. This difference seems to be due to incorporation of oxidized material into some parts of the subcontinental mantle as a result of subduction of oceanic crust. Garnet- and garnet-spinel lherzolites from the Baikal rift area have slightly higher oxygen fugacities than shallower spinel lherzolites. Oxygen fugacity does not appear to be correlated with the degree of depletion of peridotites, and its values in peridotites and pyroxenites are very much alike, suggesting that partial melting (at least at moderate degrees) takes place at essentially the same fO2s that are now recorded by the residual material. Modally (amphibole- and phlogopitebearing) and cryptically metasomatized xenoliths from the Baikal rift zone give the same fO2 values as depleted anhydrous peridotites, suggesting that solid-melt-fluid reactions in the continental rift mantle also take place without substantial change in redox state. This is in contrast to other tectonic environments where metasomatism appears to be associated with oxidation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)179-193
    Number of pages15
    JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 1992


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