Unravelling the effects of melt depletion and secondary infiltration on mantle Re-Os isotopes beneath the French Massif Central

J. Harvey*, A. Gannoun, K. W. Burton, P. Schiano, N. W. Rogers, O. Alard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


Spinel lherzolite xenoliths from Mont Briançon, French Massif Central, retain evidence for multiple episodes of melt depletion and melt/fluid infiltration (metasomatism). Evidence for primary melt depletion is still preserved in the co-variation of bulk-rock major elements (MgO 38.7-46.1 wt.%; CaO 0.9-3.6 wt.%), and many samples yield unradiogenic bulk-rock Os isotope ratios (187Os/188Os = 0.11541-0.12626). However, many individual xenoliths contain interstitial glasses and melt inclusions that are not in equilibrium with the major primary minerals. Incompatible trace element mass balance calculations demonstrate that metasomatic components comprise a significant proportion of the bulk-rock budget for these elements in some rocks, ranging to as much as 25% of Nd and 40% of Sr Critically, for Re-Os geochronology, melt/fluid infiltration is accompanied by the mobilisation of sulfide. Consequently, bulk-rock isotope measurements, whether using lithophile (e.g. Rb-Sr, Sm-Nd) or siderophile (Re-Os) based isotope systems, may only yield a perturbed and/or homogenised average of these multiple events. Osmium mass balance calculations demonstrate that bulk-rock Os in peridotite is dominated by contributions from two populations of sulfide grain: (i) interstitial, metasomatic sulfide with low [Os] and radiogenic 187Os/188Os, and (ii) primary sulfides with high [Os] and unradiogenic 187Os/188Os, which have been preserved within host silicate grains and shielded from interaction with transient melts and fluid. The latter can account for >97% of bulk-rock Os and preserve geochronological information of the melt from which they originally precipitated as an immiscible liquid. The Re-depletion model ages of individual primary sulfide grains preserve evidence for melt depletion beneath the Massif Central from at least 1.8 Gyr ago despite the more recent metasomatic event(s).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-320
Number of pages28
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


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