Trace element and Nd-Sr isotopic composition of ultramafic lamprophyres from the East Antarctic Beaver Lake area

A. V. Andronikov*, S. F. Foley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


The trace element and Nd-Sr isotopic compositions of Cretaceous (110-117 Ma) ultramafic lamprophyres from the Beaver Lake area in East Antarctica, which are developed as sill, dyke and plug intrusions, have been investigated. Rare earth elements of lamprophyres are strongly fractionated, with LREE > 100 times chondrite, whereas HREE are < 10 times chondrite, presumably indicating the presence of residual garnet in the source region. A characteristic feature of the Beaver Lake rocks is low concentrations of Zr and Hf (Zr, 50-250 ppm; Hf, 1.0-5.0 ppm) and to a lesser extent Nb (17-90 ppm) which cause strong negative anomalies in the normalized trace element patterns. Eruption age-corrected Nd isotope values vary within narrow ranges (εNd(t) = +2.1 to +4.3), whereas Sr isotope values show more variation (87Sr/86Sr(t) = 0.704336-0.706431), similar to the isotopic compositions of other ultramafic lamprophyres. The genesis of the ultramafic lamprophyres is explained as a result of the gradual widening of the Lambert-Amery rift during the Phanerozoic. An increase in the geothermal gradient from cold continental conditions beneath the Archean block to the west may have resulted in grazing of the peridotite solidus at depths greater than 110 km. The initial carbonate-rich melts migrated upwards and froze as carbonate-bearing veins in the overlying lithosphere. Later upward and outward migration of the asthenosphere beneath the rift caused remelting of the veined region, resulting in melts of ultramafic lamprophyre composition with a mixed geochemical abundance and isotope signature from carbonate-rich veins and depleted peridotite wall-rock. The CO2-rich component of the lamprophyres is derived principally from the vein assemblage, from which phlogopite gives rise to the variable Sr isotopes, and baddeleyite to the differing Zr and Hf abundances. The difference between the lamprophyre facies of the Beaver Lake intrusions can be explained by minor amounts of olivine and Cr-spinel fractionation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-305
Number of pages15
JournalChemical Geology
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • East Antarctica
  • Fractional crystallisation
  • Isotopes
  • Lamprophyre
  • Magma genesis
  • Melting
  • Ultramafic lamprophyre


Dive into the research topics of 'Trace element and Nd-Sr isotopic composition of ultramafic lamprophyres from the East Antarctic Beaver Lake area'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this