Two-stage origin of K-enrichment in ultrapotassic magmatism simulated by melting of experimentally metasomatized mantle

Michael W. Förster, Stephan Buhre, Bo Xu, Dejan Prelević, Regina Mertz-Kraus, Stephen F. Foley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
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The generation of strongly potassic melts in the mantle requires the presence of phlogopite in the melting assemblage, while isotopic and trace element analyses of ultrapotassic rocks frequently indicate the involvement of subducted crustal lithologies in the source. However, phlogopite-free experiments that focus on melting of sedimentary rocks and subsequent hybridization with mantle rocks at pressures of 1–3 GPa have not successfully produced melts with K2O >5 wt%–6 wt%, while ultrapotassic igneous rocks reach up to 12 wt% K2O. Accordingly, a two-stage process that enriches K2O and increases K/Na in intermediary assemblages in the source prior to ultrapotassic magmatism seems likely. Here, we simulate this two-stage formation of ultrapotassic magmas using an experimental approach that involves re-melting of parts of an experimental product in a second experiment. In the first stage, reaction experiments containing layered sediment and dunite produced a modally metasomatized reaction zone at the border of a depleted peridotite. For the second-stage experiment, the metasomatized dunite was separated from the residue of the sedimentary rock and transferred to a smaller capsule, and melts were produced with 8 wt%–8.5 wt% K2O and K/Na of 6–7. This is the first time that extremely K-enriched ultrapotassic melts have been generated experimentally from sediments at low pressure applicable to a post-collisional setting.
Original languageEnglish
Article number41
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2019. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • lamproites
  • high-pressure experiments
  • ultrapotassic
  • K-enrichment
  • subduction zones


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