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Effects of mafic alkaline metasomatism have been investigated by a combined study of the East Serbian mantle xenoliths and their host alkaline rocks. Fertile xenoliths and tiny mineral assemblages found in depleted xenoliths have been investigated. Fertile lithologies are represented by clinopyroxene (cpx)-rich lherzolite and spinel (sp)-rich olivine websterite containing Ti–Al-rich Cr-augite, Fe-rich olivine, Fe–Al-rich orthopyroxene and Al-rich spinel. Depleted xenoliths, which are the predominant lithology in the suite of East Serbian xenoliths, are harzburgite, cpx-poor lherzolite and rare Mg-rich dunite. They contain small-scale assemblages occurring as pocket-like, symplectitic or irregular, deformation-assisted accumulations of metasomatic phases, generally composed of Ti–Al- and incompatible element-rich Cr-diopside, Cr–Fe–Ti-rich spinel, altered glass, olivine, apatite, ilmenite, carbonate, feldspar, and a high-TiO2 (c. 11 wt%) phlogopite. The fertile xenoliths are too rich in Al, Ca and Fe to simply represent undepleted mantle. By contrast, their composition can be reproduced by the addition of 5–20 wt% of a basanitic melt to refractory mantle. However, textural relationships found in tiny mineral assemblages inside depleted xenoliths imply the following reaction: opx+sp1 (primary mantle Cr-spinel) ±phlogopite+Si-poor alkaline melt=Ti–Al-cpx+sp2 (metasomatic Ti-rich spinel)±ol±other minor phases. Inversion modelling, performed on the least contaminated and most isotopically uniform host basanites (87Sr/86Sr=c. 0.7031; 143Nd/144Nd=c. 0.5129), implies a source that was enriched in highly and moderately incompatible elements (c. 35–40× chondrite for U–Th–Nb–Ta, 2× chondrite for heavy rare earth elements (HREE), made up of clinopyroxene, carbonate (c. 5%), and traces of ilmenite (c. 1%) and apatite (c. 0.05%). A schematic model involves: first, percolation of CO2- and H2O-rich fluids and precipitation of metasomatic hydrous minerals; and, second, the subsequent breakdown of these hydrous minerals due to the further uplift of hot asthenospheric mantle. This model links intraplate alkaline magmatism to lithospheric mantle sources enriched by sublithospheric melts at some time in the past.

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