Transformation of subcontinental lithospheric mantle through peridotite-melt reaction: Evidence from a highly fertile mantle xenolith from the North China craton

Hong Fu Zhang, Eizou Nakamura, Min Sun, Katsura Kobayashi, Jin Zhang, Ji Feng Ying, Yan Jie Tang, Li Feng Niu

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A highly fertile mantle xenolith entrained in the Upper Cretaceous Daxizhuang basalt, Shandong Province, China provides petrological evidence for reaction between basaltic melt and refractory peridotite in Mesozoic lithospheric mantle beneath the eastern North China craton. The xenolith is zoned with a lherzolite core, a sheared wehrlite mantle, and a reactant rim. The lherzolite has a medium-grained granular texture and contains olivine, orthopyroxene, clinopyroxene, and spinel with low Mg# values (≤87). This is the lowest value observed globally in mantle xenoliths entrained in both kimberlites and basalts from old cratons, but is close to low-Mg# spinel lherzolites entrained in adjacent region of the eastern North China craton. The wehrlite mantle shows clear orientation and foliation of constituent olivine and clinopyroxene. The reactant rim displays a symplectite texture of fine-grained olivine, clinopyroxene, and spinel, and is characterized by LREE-enriched patterns. Orthopyroxene is lacking from the sheared mantle and reactant rim. Clear zoning and systematic core-rim variations in major and trace elements of the constituent minerals demonstrate the occurrence of the refertilization through the melt-peridotite reaction in the xenolith. This reaction may have produced the low-Mg# peridotite from a high-Mg# protolith and could be an important mechanism for the change of the subcontinental lithospheric mantle from a Paleozoic refractory mantle to a Late Mesozoic fertile mantle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)658-679
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Geology Review
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology

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