Shallow (garnet-free), depleted cratonic mantle, occurring as xenoliths in kimberlites and alkaline basaltic lavas, has a high Mg# (100 × Mg/(Mg + Fe) > 92) and is poor in Al and Ca compared to off-cratonic mantle. Here we compile data for many suites of shallow cratonic mantle xenoliths worldwide, and demonstrate a remarkably small range in their olivine Mg#, with an average of ≈92.8. Via comparison with data for experimental melting of mantle peridotite compositions, we explain consistent olivine Mg# as the result of mantle melting and melt extraction to the point of orthopyroxene exhaustion, leaving a nearly monomineralic olivine residue.

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