Abstract

Early–Middle Miocene intraplate basalts from the Aleppo Plateau, NW Syria have been analysed for their platinum-group elements (PGEs). They contain extremely low PGE abundances, comparable with most alkali basalts, such as those from Hawaii, and mid-ocean ridge basalts. The low abundances, together with high Pd/Ir, Pt/Ir, Ni/Ir, Cu/Pd, Y/Pt and Cu/Zr are consistent with sulphide fractionation, which likely occurred during partial melting and melt extraction within the mantle. Some of the basalts are too depleted in PGEs to be explained solely by partial melting of a primitive mantle-like source. Such ultra-low PGE abundances, however, are possible if the source contains some mafic lithologies. Many of the basalts also exhibit suprachondritic Pd/Pt ratios of up to an order of magnitude higher than primitive mantle and chondrite, an increase too high to be attributable to fractionation of spinel and silicate minerals alone. The elevated Pd/Pt, associated with a decrease in Pt but not Ir and Ru, are also inconsistent with removal of Pt-bearing PGE minerals or alloys, which should have concurrently lowered Pt, Ir and Ru. In contrast, melting of a metasomatized source comprising sulphides whose Pt and to a lesser extent Rh were selectively mobilized through interaction with silicate melts, may provide an explanation.

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