Ultramafic Carbonated Melt‐ and Auto‐Metasomatism in Mantle Eclogites: Compositional Effects and Geophysical Consequences
21, 5: -
Aulbach, Sonja; Massuyeau, Malcolm; Garber, Joshua M.; Gerdes, Axel; Heaman, Larry M.; Viljoen, K.S., 2020: Ultramafic Carbonated Melt‐ and Auto‐Metasomatism in Mantle Eclogites: Compositional Effects and Geophysical Consequences. In: Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, Band 21, 5, DOI: 10.23689/fidgeo-4004.
The mineralogy, chemical composition, and physical properties of cratonic mantle eclogites with oceanic crustal protoliths can be modified by secondary processes involving interaction with fluids and melts, generated in various slab lithologies upon subduction (auto‐metasomatism) or mantle metasomatism after emplacement into the cratonic lithosphere. Here we combine new and published data to isolate these signatures and evaluate their effects on the chemical and physical properties of eclogite. Mantle metasomatism involving kimberlite‐like, ultramafic carbonated melts (UM carbonated melts) is ubiquitous though not pervasive, and affected between ~20% and 40% of the eclogite population at the various localities investigated here, predominantly at ~60–150 km depth, overlapping cratonic midlithospheric seismic discontinuities. Its hallmarks include lower jadeite component in clinopyroxene and grossular component in garnet, an increase in bulk‐rock MgO ± SiO2, and decrease in FeO and Al2O3 contents, and LREE‐enrichment accompanied by higher Sr, Pb, Th, U, and in part Zr and Nb, as well as lower Li, Cu ± Zn. This is mediated by addition of a high‐temperature pyroxene from a UM carbonated melt, followed by redistribution of this component into garnet and clinopyroxene. As clinopyroxene‐garnet trace‐element distribution coefficients increase with decreasing garnet grossular component, clinopyroxene is the main carrier of the metasomatic signatures. UM carbonated melt‐metasomatism at >130–150 km has destroyed the diamond inventory at some localities. These mineralogical and chemical changes contribute to low densities, with implications for eclogite gravitational stability, but negligible changes in shear‐wave velocities, and, if accompanied by H2O‐enrichment, will enhance electrical conductivities compared to unenriched eclogites.Plain Language Summary: Oceanic crust formed at spreading ridges is recycled in subduction zones and undergoes metamorphism to eclogite. Some of this material is captured in the overlying lithospheric mantle, where it is exhumed by passing magmas. Having formed in spreading ridges, these eclogites have proven invaluable archives for the onset of plate tectonics, for the construction of cratons during subduction/collision, as probes of the convecting mantle from which their precursors formed, and as generators of heterogeneity upon recycling into Earth's convecting mantle. During subduction and until exhumation, interaction with fluids and melts (called metasomatism) can change the mineralogy, chemical composition, and physical properties of mantle eclogites, complicating their interpretation, but a comprehensive study of these effects is lacking so far. We investigated mantle eclogites from ancient continents (cratons) around the globe in order to define hallmarks of metasomatism by subduction‐related fluids and small‐volume ultramafic carbonated mantle melts. We find that the latter is pervasive and occurs predominantly at midlithospheric depths where seismic discontinuities are detected, typically causing diamond destruction and a reduction in density. This has consequences for their gravitational stability and for the interpretation of shearwave velocities in cratons.Key Points: Exploration of metasomatic effects during subduction of ancient oceanic crust and after its emplacement into cratonic lithospheric mantle. Metasomatism by kimberlite‐like ultramafic melt affected between 20% and 40% of mantle eclogite suites worldwide, mostly at 2–5 GPa. Metasomatism lowers FeO, hence density in eclogite; no significant effect on shearwave velocities.