Trace elemental and PGE geochemical constraints of Mesozoic and Cenozoic peridotitic xenoliths on lithospheric evolution of the North China Craton

Jianping Zheng*, Min Sun, Mei Fu Zhou, Paul Robinson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

100 Citations (Scopus)


Whole-rock major, trace, and platinum-group elemental (PGE) data, and major and trace element compositions of diopsides are reported for peridotite xenoliths from (1) early Mesozoic volcanic breccias in Xinyang, located at the southern margin of the North China Craton, and (2) Cenozoic basalts in Hebi and Shanwang, both of which are situated within the craton and lie on the North-South Gravity Line and the Tanlu fault zone, respectively. The early Mesozoic Xinyang xenoliths are harzburgites containing <2% Cpx with high Cr# and enriched in LREE but depleted in HFSE. These xenoliths have chondritic Pd/Ir (1.9-6.6) and Ru/Ir (3.5-4.0) ratios and high Ni and low CaO, Al2O3, and S contents, indicating derivation from a highly refractory mantle that experienced carbonatitic metasomatism. Negative Ce (mean δCe = 0.50) and low Mg/Si ratios of the Xinyang peridotites record the addition of crustal components likely produced from subducted continental material of the Yangtze Craton in the early Mesozoic. The subduction-related modification of the lithospheric mantle was limited to the area close to the collision zone rather than being pervasive throughout the craton. The Cenozoic Hebi peridotite xenoliths are harzburgites with ≤4.5% Cpx and have low CaO and Al2 O3 but high Ni contents, chondritic Ru/Ir ratios (2.5-5.4), and a wide range of CaO/Al2O3, Na2O/ TiO2, Pt/Ir (0.4-2.3), and Pd/Pt (1.1-8.5) ratios. These peridotites are interpreted as the shallow relics of the cratonic mantle. In contrast, the Cenozoic Shanwang xenoliths are lherzolites (5.6%-19.5% Cpx), which have low Ni contents and low Ni/Cu and Mg/Si ratios, but high CaO, Al2O3, S, and HREE contents, and relatively high Ru/Ir and Pd/Ir ratios. The Shanwang peridotites show pronounced positive Ti and Sr, negative Th, and slightly negative Y, Zr, and Hf anomalies. They are believed to represent newly accreted fertile lithospheric mantle derived from cooling of upwelling asthenosphere. The documented temporal and spatial variations in the Mesozoic-Cenozoic mantle support the previous suggestion that the buoyant refractory continental keel in the eastern part of the North China Craton was heterogeneously replaced by younger fertile lithospheric mantle in the late Cretaceous-early Tertiary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3401-3418
Number of pages18
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2005
Externally publishedYes


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