Silica and volatile-element metasomatism of Archean mantle: A xenolith-scale example from the Kaapvaal Craton

David R. Bell, M. Grégoire, T. L. Grove, N. Chatterjee, R. W. Carlson, P R Buseck

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


Textural evidence in a composite garnet harzburgite mantle xenolith from Kimberley, South Africa, suggests metasomatism of a severely melt-depleted substrate by a siliceous, volatile-rich fluid. The fluid reacted with olivine-rich garnet harzburgite, converting olivine to orthopyroxene, forming additional garnet and introducing phlogopite, and small quantities of sulfide and probable carbonate. Extensive reaction (> 50%) forming orthopyroxenite resulted from channelized flow in a vein, with orthopyroxene growth in the surrounding matrix from a pervasive grain-boundary fluid. The mineralogy of the reaction assemblage and the bulk composition of the added component dominated by Si and Al, with lesser quantities of K, Na, H, C and S, are consistent with experimental studies of hybridization of siliceous melts or fluids with peridotite. However, low Na, Fe and Ca compared with melts of eclogite suggest a fluid phase that previously evolved by reaction with peridotitic mantle. Garnet and phlogopite trace element compositions indicate a fluid rich in large-ion lithophile (LIL) elements, but poor in high field-strength elements (HFSE), qualitatively consistent with subduction zone melts and fluids. An Os isotope (TRD) model age of 2.97 ± 0.04 Ga and lack of compositional zonation in the xenolith indicate an ancient origin, consistent with proposed 2.9 Ga subduction and continental collision in the Kimberley region. The veined sample reflects the silicic end of a spectrum of compositions generated in the Kimberley mantle lithosphere by the metasomatizing effects of fluids derived from oceanic lithosphere. These results provide petrographic and chemical evidence for fluid-mediated Si-, volatile- and trace-element metasomatism of Archean mantle, and support models advocating large-scale modification of regions of Archean subcontinental mantle by subduction processes that occurred in the Archean.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-267
Number of pages17
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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