The thermal state and composition of the lithospheric mantle beneath the Leizhou Peninsula, South China

Jin Hai Yu, Suzanne Y. O'Reilly*, W. L. Griffin, Xisheng Xu, Ming Zhang, Xinmin Zhou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Two localities on the Leizhou Peninsula, southern China (Yingfengling and Tianyang basaltic volcanoes) yield a wide variety of mantle-derived xenoliths including Cr-diopside series mantle wall rocks and two distinct types of Al-augite series pyroxenites. Metapyroxenites have re-equilibrated granoblastic microstructures whereas pyroxenites with igneous microstructures have not thermally equilibrated to the mantle conditions. An abundant suite of megacrysts and megacrystic aggregates (including garnet, plagioclase, clinopyroxene, ilmenite and apatite) is interpreted as the pegmatitic equivalents of the igneous pyroxenite suite. Layered spinel lherzolite/spinel websterite xenoliths were formed by metamorphic differentiation caused by mantle deformation, inferred to be related to lithospheric thinning. Some metapyroxenites have garnet websterite assemblages that allow calculation of their mantle equilibration temperatures and pressures and the construction of the first xenolith geotherm for the southernmost China lithosphere. Heat flow data measured at the surface in this region yield model conductive geotherms (using average crustal conductivity values) that are consistent with the xenolith geotherm for the mantle. The calculated mean surface heat flux is 110 mW/m2. This high heat flux and the high geotherm are consistent with young lithospheric thinning in southern China, and with recent tomography results showing shallow low-velocity zones in this region. The xenolith geotherm allows the construction of a lithospheric rock type section for the Leizhou region; it shows that the crust-mantle boundary lies at about 30 km, consistent with seismic data, and that the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary lies at about 100 km.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-189
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2003


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