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Publication Detail
U-Th-Pb and Lu-Hf isotopic constraints on the evolution of sub-continental lithospheric mantle, French Massif Central
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Journal Article
  • Authors:
    Wittig N, Baker JA, Downes H
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    1290, 1311
  • Journal:
    Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
  • Volume:
  • Issue:
  • Status:
  • Print ISSN:
We have carried out a Pb double-spike and Lu-Hf isotope study of clinopyroxenes from spinel-facies mantle xenoliths entrained in Cenozoic intraplate continental volcanism of the French Massif Central (FMC). U-Th-Pb and Lu-Hf isotope systematics verify the existence of different lithospheric domains beneath the northern and southern FMC. Northern FMC clinopyroxenes have extreme Lu/Hf ratios and ultra-radiogenic Hf (εHf = +39.6 to +2586) that reflect ∼15-25% partial melting in Variscan times (depleted mantle model ages ∼360 Ma). Zr, Hf and Th abundances in these clinopyroxenes are low and unaffected by hydrous/carbonatitic metasomatism that overprinted LILE and light REE abundances and caused decoupling of Lu/Hf-Sm/Nd ratios and Nd-Hf isotopes (εNd = +2.1 to +91.2). Pb isotopes of northern FMC clinopyroxenes are radiogenic (206Pb/204Pb > 19), and typically more so than the host intraplate volcanic rocks. 238U/204Pb ratios range from 17 to 68, and most samples have distinctively low 232Th/238U (<1) and 232Th/204Pb (3-22). Clinopyroxenes from southern FMC lherzolites are generally marked by overall incompatible trace element enrichment including Zr, Hf and Th abundances, and have Pb isotopes that are similar to or less radiogenic than the host volcanic rocks. Hf isotope ratios are less radiogenic (εHf = +5.4 to +41.5) than northern FMC mantle and have been overprinted by silicate-melt-dominated metasomatism that affected this part of FMC mantle. Major element and Lu concentrations of clinopyroxenes from southern FMC harzburgites are broadly similar to northern FMC clinopyroxenes and suggest they experienced similar degrees of melt extraction as northern FMC mantle. 238U/204Pb (53-111) and 232Th/204Pb ratios (157-355) of enriched clinopyroxenes from the southern FMC are extreme and significantly higher than the intraplate volcanic rocks. In summary, mantle peridotites from different parts of the FMC record depletion at ∼360 Ma during Variscan subduction, followed by differing styles of enrichment. Northern FMC mantle was overprinted by a fluid/carbonatitic metasomatic agent that carried elements like U, Pb, Sr and light REE. In contrast, much of the southern FMC mantle was metasomatised by a small-degree partial silicate melt resulting in enrichment of all incompatible trace elements. The extreme mantle 238U/204Pb (northern and southern FMC), 232Th/238U (northern FMC) and 232Th/204Pb ratios (southern FMC), coupled with unremarkable present-day Pb isotope ratios, constrain the timing of enrichment. Mantle metasomatism is a young feature related to melting of the upwelling mantle responsible for Cenozoic FMC volcanism, rather than subduction-related metasomatism intimately associated with mantle depletion during the Variscan orogeny. The varying metasomatic styles relate to pre-existing variations in the thickness of the continental lithospheric lid, which controlled the extent to which upwelling mantle could ascend and melt. In the northern FMC, a thicker and more refractory lithospheric lid (≥80 km) only allowed incipient degrees of melting resulting in fluid/carbonatitic metasomatism of the overlying sub-continental lithospheric mantle. The thinner lithospheric lid of the southern FMC (≤70 km) allowed larger degrees of melting and resulted in silicate-melt-dominated metasomatism, and also focused the location of the volcanic fields of the FMC above this region. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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