Mineralogical and geochemical constraints on the shallow origin, ancient veining and multi-stage modification of the Lherz peridotite

Riches, Amy J. V. and Rogers, Nick W. (2011). Mineralogical and geochemical constraints on the shallow origin, ancient veining and multi-stage modification of the Lherz peridotite. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 75(20) pp. 6160–6182.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2011.07.036


New major- and trace-element data of bulk-rocks and constituent minerals, and whole-rock Re–Os isotopic compositions of samples from the Lherz Massif, French Pyrenees, reveal complex petrological relationships between the dominant lithologies of lherzolite ± olivine-websterite and harzburgite. The Lherz peridotite body contains elongate, foliation parallel, lithological strips of harzburgite, lherzolite, and olivine-websterite cross-cut by later veins of hornblende-bearing pyroxenites. Peridotite lithologies are markedly bimodal, with a clear compositional gap between harzburgites and lherzolites ± olivine-websterite. Bulk-rock and mineral major-element oxide (Mg–Fe–Si–Cr) compositions show that harzburgites are highly-depleted and result from ∼20-25 wt.% melt extraction at pressures <2 GPa. Incompatible and moderately-compatible trace-element abundances of hornblendite-free harzburgites are analogous to some mantle-wedge peridotites. In contrast, lherzolites ± olivine-websterite overlap estimates of primitive mantle composition, yet these materials are composite samples that represent physical mixtures of residual lherzolites and clinopyroxene dominated cumulates equilibrated with a LREE-enriched tholeiitic melt. Trace-element compositions of harzburgite, and some lherzolite bulk-rocks and pyroxenes have been modified by; (1) wide–spread interaction with a low-volume LREE-enriched melt +/− fluid that has disturbed highly-incompatible elements (e.g., LREEs, Zr) without enrichment of alkali- and Ti-contents; and (2) intrusion of relatively recent, small-volume, hornblendite-forming, basanitic melts linked to modal and cryptic metasomatism resulting in whole-rock and pyroxene Ti, Na and MREE enrichment.

Rhenium-Os isotope systematics of Lherz samples are also compositionally bimodal; lherzolites ± olivine-websterite have chondritc to suprachondritic 187Os/188Os and 187Re/188Os values that overlap the range reported for Earth’s primitive upper mantle, whereas harzburgites have sub-chondritic 187Os/188Os and 187Re/188Os values. Various Os-model age calculations indicate that harzburgites, lherzolites, and olivine-websterites have been isolated from convective homogenisation since the Meso-Proterozoic and this broadly coincides with the time of melt extraction controlled by harzburgite Os-isotope compositions. The association between harzburgites resulting from melting in mantle-wedge environments and Os-rich trace-phases (laurite–erlichmanite sulphides and Pt–Os–Ir-alloys) suggests that a significant portion of persistent refractory anomalies in the present-day convecting mantle of Earth may be linked to ancient large-scale melting events related to wide-spread subduction-zone processing.

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