Geochemical insights into the lithology of mantle sources for Cenozoic alkali basalts in West Qinling, China

Lithos, pp. 86-98, 2018.

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The present study indicates that carbonated peridotite plus hornblendite would have served as the mantle sources of Cenozoic alkali basalts from the West Qinling orogen in China

Abstract:

Although alkali basalts are common in oceanic islands and continental rifts, the lithology of their mantle sources is still controversial. While the peridotite is usually viewed as a common source lithology, there are increasing studies suggesting significant contributions from ultramafic metasomatites such as carbonated peridotite, pyrox...More

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Introduction
  • Alkali basalts are common in intraplate settings and constitute vital part of oceanic island basalts (OIB).
  • If the peridotite has an identical composition to the mantle source of mid-ocean ridge basalts (MORB), its partial melting at very low degree can produce basaltic melts with significant enrichment in melt-mobile incompatible trace elements such as large ion lithophile elements (LILE) and light rare earth elements (LREE).
  • The source lithology of alkali basalts still remains to be resolved
Highlights
  • Alkali basalts are common in intraplate settings and constitute vital part of oceanic island basalts (OIB)
  • It is inferred that the subduction of Paleotethyan oceanic crust to the postarc depths yields hydrous, carbonate-bearing felsic melts, which react with the depleted mid-ocean ridge basalts (MORB) mantle wedge peridotite at the slab-mantle interface in the Paleotethyan oceanic subduction channel
  • This generates a combined mantle lithology composed of carbonated peridotite and hornblendite
  • The anatectic melts are of felsic composition but either rich or poor in carbonate, so that they were derived from partial melting of the subducted carbonate-covered oceanic crust
  • Because these alkali basalts are relatively depleted in radiogenic isotope compositions, it is inferred that crustal components in the mantle source are juvenile rather ancient
  • The ultramafic metasomatites such as carbonated peridotite and hornblendite would have served as the important media to transfer the geochemical signatures from the carbonate-covered Paleotethyan oceanic crust into the alkali basalts in the fossil convergent plate margin that has developed into the continental region at present
Methods
  • Whole-rock major-trace elements After detail petrographic examination, fresh samples were selected, and crushed to powders of 200 meshes in agate mortars.
  • The analytical precision for the major elements is better than ±2-5 %.
  • Trace elements were analyzed using Agilent 7500e ICP-MS after complete dissolution at Wuhan Sample Solution Analytical Technology Company, Wuhan.
  • Four standards were used to monitor the analytical quality, and the analytical precision for most trace elements is better than ±5%
Results
  • A total of 15 samples were analyzed in the present study for their whole-rock major and trace elements, Sr-Nd and Lu-Hf isotope compositions, and the results are listed in Supplementary Tables S1, S2 and S3, respectively.
  • Whole-rock major and trace elements According to the nomenclature of Le Bas et al (1986), all the target basalts plot in the foidite field on the total alkalis versus SiO2 diagram (Fig. 3).
  • They are all silica-undersaturated alkali basalts, which have normative nepheline and olivine in terms of CIPW normative calculations.
  • Their Na2O and K2O contents vary from 0.6 to 3.3 wt.% and from 0.26 to 2.07 wt.%, respectively
Conclusion
  • The alkali basalts from West Qinling exhibit somewhat variable whole-rock (87Sr/86Sr)i ratios of 0.7040 to 0.7059, they show relatively constant whole-rock εNd(t) values of 3.4 to 4.2 (Table S2; Fig.The Cenozoic alkali basalts from the West Qinling orogen generally show low SiO2 contents, but high CaO contents and CaO/Al2O3 ratios
  • They are characterized by significant enrichment in some incompatible trace elements but depletion in the other incompatible trace elements such as Rb, K, Pb, Zr, Hf and Ti. They are characterized by significant enrichment in some incompatible trace elements but depletion in the other incompatible trace elements such as Rb, K, Pb, Zr, Hf and Ti
  • Such trace element compositions are similar to those of carbonatites and basaltic melts from hornblendite, but significantly different from those of normal MORB.
  • The ultramafic metasomatites such as carbonated peridotite and hornblendite would have served as the important media to transfer the geochemical signatures from the carbonate-covered Paleotethyan oceanic crust into the alkali basalts in the fossil convergent plate margin that has developed into the continental region at present
Summary
  • Introduction:

    Alkali basalts are common in intraplate settings and constitute vital part of oceanic island basalts (OIB).
  • If the peridotite has an identical composition to the mantle source of mid-ocean ridge basalts (MORB), its partial melting at very low degree can produce basaltic melts with significant enrichment in melt-mobile incompatible trace elements such as large ion lithophile elements (LILE) and light rare earth elements (LREE).
  • The source lithology of alkali basalts still remains to be resolved
  • Methods:

    Whole-rock major-trace elements After detail petrographic examination, fresh samples were selected, and crushed to powders of 200 meshes in agate mortars.
  • The analytical precision for the major elements is better than ±2-5 %.
  • Trace elements were analyzed using Agilent 7500e ICP-MS after complete dissolution at Wuhan Sample Solution Analytical Technology Company, Wuhan.
  • Four standards were used to monitor the analytical quality, and the analytical precision for most trace elements is better than ±5%
  • Results:

    A total of 15 samples were analyzed in the present study for their whole-rock major and trace elements, Sr-Nd and Lu-Hf isotope compositions, and the results are listed in Supplementary Tables S1, S2 and S3, respectively.
  • Whole-rock major and trace elements According to the nomenclature of Le Bas et al (1986), all the target basalts plot in the foidite field on the total alkalis versus SiO2 diagram (Fig. 3).
  • They are all silica-undersaturated alkali basalts, which have normative nepheline and olivine in terms of CIPW normative calculations.
  • Their Na2O and K2O contents vary from 0.6 to 3.3 wt.% and from 0.26 to 2.07 wt.%, respectively
  • Conclusion:

    The alkali basalts from West Qinling exhibit somewhat variable whole-rock (87Sr/86Sr)i ratios of 0.7040 to 0.7059, they show relatively constant whole-rock εNd(t) values of 3.4 to 4.2 (Table S2; Fig.The Cenozoic alkali basalts from the West Qinling orogen generally show low SiO2 contents, but high CaO contents and CaO/Al2O3 ratios
  • They are characterized by significant enrichment in some incompatible trace elements but depletion in the other incompatible trace elements such as Rb, K, Pb, Zr, Hf and Ti. They are characterized by significant enrichment in some incompatible trace elements but depletion in the other incompatible trace elements such as Rb, K, Pb, Zr, Hf and Ti
  • Such trace element compositions are similar to those of carbonatites and basaltic melts from hornblendite, but significantly different from those of normal MORB.
  • The ultramafic metasomatites such as carbonated peridotite and hornblendite would have served as the important media to transfer the geochemical signatures from the carbonate-covered Paleotethyan oceanic crust into the alkali basalts in the fossil convergent plate margin that has developed into the continental region at present
Funding
  • This study was supported by funds from the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (2015CB856102), the Strategic Priority Research Program (B) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDB18000000), the Nature Science Foundation of China (41573001), the Youth Innovation Promotion Association of the Chinese Academy of Science (2015372), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities
Study subjects and analysis
samples: 15
An USGS reference material GSP-2 was also processed for Sr-Nd-Hf isotopes to monitor the analytical quality, yielding ratios of 0.765095 ± 24 (2SD, n=4) for 87Sr/86Sr, 0.511368 ± 6 (2SD, n=4) for 143Nd/144Nd and 0.281948 ± 8 (2SD, n=4) for 176Hf/177Hf, respectively, which are identical, within analytical errors, to the recommended values (Weis et al, 2006, 2007). A total of 15 samples were analyzed in the present study for their whole-rock major and trace elements, Sr-Nd and Lu-Hf isotope compositions, and the results are listed in Supplementary Tables S1, S2 and S3, respectively. Also listed are those presented by Dai et al (2017a) from the same areas

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