Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Ultramafic xenoliths in Cenozoic alkali basalts from Yitong, northeast China comprise three types in terms of their modal mineralogy: lherzolite, pyroxenite and wehrlite. The wehrlite suite always contains interstitial pale/brown glass which occupies several per cent by volume of the whole rock. The texture of the wehrlites is porphyroclastic with some large strained grains of olivine (0.5–1 mm) scattered in a very fine grained matrix (0.1 mm), implying a metamorphic origin for the protolith rather than an igneous origin. The host minerals are compositionally zoned, showing evidence of reaction with a melt. Petrological evidence for resorption of spinel (lherzolite) and orthopyroxene (wehrlite) by infiltrating melt further supports the hypothesis that the wehrlites result from interaction between a partial melting residue and a melt, which preferentially replaced primary spinel, Cr-diopside and enstatite to produce secondary clinopyroxene (cpx) + olivine (ol) ± chromite ± feldspar (fd). The composition of the mineral phases supports this inference and, further indicates that, prior to melt impregnation, the protoliths of these wehrlites must have been subjected to at least one earlier Fe-enrichment event. This explanation is consistent with the restricted occurrence of glasses in the wehrlite suite. The glass is generally associated with fine-grained (0.1 mm) minerals (cpx+ol+chromite ±fd). Electron microprobe analyses of these glasses show them to have high SiO2 content (54–60 wt%), a high content of alkalis (Na2O, 5.6–8.0%; K2O, 6.3–9.0%), high Al2O3 (20–24%), and a depletion in CaO (0.13–2.83%), FeO (0.89–4.42%) and MgO (0.29–1.18%). Ion probe analyses reveal a light rare earth element-enrichment in these glasses with chondrite normalised (La)n = 268–480. The high K2O contents in these glasses and their mode of occurrence argue against an origin by in-situ melting of pre-existent phases. Petrographic characteristics and trace element data also exclude the possibility of percolation of host-basalt related melts for the origin of these glasses. Thus the glasses must have resulted from local penetration of mantle metasomatic melts which may have been produced by partial melting of peridotites with involvement of deep-seated fluids. Such melts may have been significantly modified by subsequent fractional crystallization of ol, cpx and sp, extensive reaction with the mantle conduit and the xenolith transport process.
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