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The influence of mantle metasomatism on the oxidation state of the lithospheric mantle
- Author / Creator
- Creighton, Steven
The oxidation state, reflected in the oxygen fugacity (fO2), of the lithospheric mantle is both laterally and vertically heterogeneous. Depth-fO2 profiles from kimberlite-borne peridotitic mantle xenoliths from the Bultfontein kimberlite, Kimberley, South Africa and the A154-N and A154-S kimberlites of the Diavik Mine, NWT, Canada were constructed by measuring ferric iron concentrations in garnets using the flank method. These data demonstrate that mantle metasomatic re-enrichment processes had a significant effect on fO2. In the garnet stability field, the Kaapvaal lithospheric mantle becomes progressively more reducing with increasing depth from Δlog fO2 (FMQ) of -2 at 110 km to -4 at 210 km. The lithospheric mantle beneath Diavik is vertically layered with respect to its bulk and trace-element composition. The shallow ‘ultradepleted’ layer is oxidized, to the point that carbonate rather than graphite is the anticipated carbon host. The deeper layer is more fertile and has fO2 conditions extending down to Δlog fO2 (FMQ) -3.8.
Deviations from predicted depth-fO2 trends in both xenolith localities result from metasomatic re-enrichment caused by transient fluids and melts. Diamond formation in the Kaapvaal lithospheric mantle may have occurred through the infiltration of reduced fluids into relatively more oxidized mantle. Trace-element concentrations in garnets preserve evidence of two distinct melt metasomatic enrichment events. One was a craton-wide event that is commonly observed in garnet peridotite xenoliths and xenocrysts worldwide; the other was melt infiltration event, preserved as MARID xenoliths, related to the eruption of the Group 2 kimberlites in the western portion of the Kaapvaal craton. The effect of the former melt metasomatism on fO2 is unclear ambiguous whereas the MARID event was clearly oxidizing.
Diavik xenoliths preserve evidence for events similar to the fluid and ‘common’ melt metasomatism seen in the Bultfontein samples. Fluid metasomatism affected the entire depth range of xenoliths sampled from Diavik and was oxidizing. A stage of melt metasomatism affected only the deeper (>140 km) portion of the lithospheric mantle and had an overall reducing effect. The observation of sharp-edged octahedral diamonds in microxenoliths affected by the fluid metasomatic event may indicate that this was a major diamond-forming event in the mantle beneath Diavik.
- Graduation date
- Fall 2009
- Type of Item
- Doctor of Philosophy
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