The role of HIMU metasomatic components in the North African lithospheric mantle: Petrological evidence from the Gharyan lherzolite xenoliths, NW Libya
L. Beccaluva, G. Bianchini, R. M. Ellam, M. Marzola, K. M. Oun, F. Siena, F. M. Stuart, 2008. "The role of HIMU metasomatic components in the North African lithospheric mantle: Petrological evidence from the Gharyan lherzolite xenoliths, NW Libya", Metasomatism in Oceanic and Continental Lithospheric Mantle, M. Coltorti, M. Grégoire
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The Neogene–Quaternary alkali-basalt–hawaiite lavas of the Gharyan volcanic field (NW Libya) contain mantle xenoliths. These mostly consist of protogranular spinel lherzolites with superimposed metasomatic textures represented by reaction patches where primary orthopyroxene (opx), clinopyroxene (cpx) and spinel (sp) are the main reacting phases. The secondary parageneses include clinopyroxene (cpx2), olivine (ol2) and feldspar (feld) as reaction rims around opx, spongy-textured clinopyroxene with recrystallized portions (cpx2±feldspar), and brown spinel destabilized in a higher Cr/(Cr+Al) black vermicular aggregate (sp2) generally associated with feldspar microlites. Cpx2 are typically depleted in Na2O and Al2O3 relative to cpx; feldspar includes both alkali-feldspar (Or 17–51) and plagioclase (An 23–64). Bulk rocks have flat heavy rare earth element (HREE) patterns (1.2–2.3 times chondrite) and are variably enriched in light REE (LREE; LaN/YbN up to 6.6). The constituent clinopyroxenes are characterized by flat HREE distributions (8–14.5 times chondrite) and variable LREE enrichment with LaN/YbN up to seven, which generally conform to the bulk-rock chemistry. Samples relatively unaffected by metasomatism have clinopyroxene Sr–Nd isotopic composition (87Sr/86Sr down to 0.7023, 143Nd/144Nd up to 0.5139) that approaches the depleted mantle (DM), suggesting that the lithospheric mantle beneath the area underwent a long-term depletion probably by pre-Palaeozoic extraction of basic melts. The remaining samples approach 87Sr/86Sr c. 0.7030, 143Nd/144Nd c. 0.5130, with 206Pb/204Pb up to 19.66. These data imply that the causative agents of metasomatism were Na-alkali silicate melts with a clear HIMU affinity, in accordance with the isotopic signature of the host lavas (87Sr/86Sr=0.7032, 143Nd/144Nd=0.5130, 206Pb/204Pb=19.60). This prevalent HIMU geochemical signature is comparable with that recorded in Cenozoic alkaline basic lavas and associated mantle xenoliths from other occurrences of the northern–central African lithosphere, suggesting a common regional sub-lithospheric component. The relatively low 3He/4He of the Gharyan xenoliths (5.3–6.5 Ra) indicates that this component originates within the upper mantle and is unrelated to the deep-seated mantle plume source of the Ethiopian–Yemen plateau basalts. Therefore, the Cenozoic volcanic districts of the Saharan belt could be related to smaller-scale shallow mantle upwellings (also referred to as ‘hot fingers’) triggered by intraplate reactivation of regional tectonic lineaments within the Pan-African cratonic basement, as a foreland reaction of the African–Europe collisional system.