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Journal Article

Significance of the whole rock Re–Os ages in cryptically and modally metasomatised cratonic peridotites: Constraints from HSE–Se–Te systematics


Behrens,  Melanie
Max Planck Research Group Marine Isotope Geochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Luguet, A., Behrens, M., Pearson, D. G., König, S., & Herwartz, D. (2015). Significance of the whole rock Re–Os ages in cryptically and modally metasomatised cratonic peridotites: Constraints from HSE–Se–Te systematics. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 164: 1, pp. 441-463.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-C3EE-7
The Re–Os isotopic system is the geochronometer of choice to constrain the timing of lithospheric mantle root formation and reconstruct the evolution of Earth’s dynamics from the “mantle” perspective. In order to constrain the effects of metasomatic processes on the Re–Os isotopic system, eleven peridotites from the Letlhakane kimberlite pipe were investigated for whole rock major and trace elements, highly siderophile elements (HSE), Se, Te and 187Os/188Os signatures. These spinel peridotites (SP), garnet peridotites (GP), garnet-phlogopite peridotites (GPP) and phlogopite peridotites (PP) experienced cryptic metasomatism and the GP–GPP–PP additionally constitute a sequence of increasing modal metasomatism.

The cryptically metasomatised SP appear devoid of base metal sulphides (BMS) and show suprachondritic Se/Te ratios (15–40) and extremely Pd- and Pt-depleted HSE patterns. These features are characteristic of high-degree partial melting residues. Their 187Os/188Os signatures are thus considered to be inherited from the partial melting event. This implies a Neoarchean (2.5–2.8 Ga, TRD eruption) stabilisation of the Letlhakane mantle root and supports the Letlhakane mantle root being a westerly extension of the Zimbabwe cratonic root.

The modally metasomatised peridotites contain BMS whose abundance significantly increases from the GPP to the GP and PP. The BMS-poor GPP are only slightly richer in Pt and Pd than the BMS-free SP but have similarly high Se/Te ratios. The BMS-rich GP and PP exhibit significant enrichments in Pt, Pd, Se, Te resulting in HSE–Se–Te signatures similar to that of the Primitive Upper Mantle (PUM). Addition of 0.001–0.05 wt.% metasomatic BMS ± PGM (platinum group minerals, i.e., Pt-tellurides) to highly refractory residues, such as the Letlhakane SP, reproduce well the HSE–Se–Te systematics observed in the BMS-poor and BMS-rich modally metasomatised peridotites. In the GPP, the negligible addition of metasomatic BMS ± PGM did not disturb the 187Os/188Os signatures, indicating TRD eruption ages identical with those of the SP. By contrast, the PP and GP, which suffered significant BMS ± PGM addition, have 187Os/188Os considerably shifted toward more radiogenic values. As a result, unrealistically young TRD eruption ages are obtained that cannot be used to constrain the time frame of the stabilisation of the cratonic roots and the mechanisms of craton formation.

The Se–Te and incompatible HSE (i.e., Pt, Pd) are powerful geochemical tools to assess the robustness of the Re–Os isotopic system in mantle peridotites. Specifically, Se/Te and Pd/Ir ratios provide complementary insights into the complex metasomatic history of mantle peridotites. The Se/Te ratio is very sensitive to Os-free PGM metasomatism producing highly variable Se/Te >15 at low, relatively constant Pd/Ir< 0.4 but does not affect the 187Os/188Os systematics. This contrasts with BMS metasomatism, where Pd/Ir becomes more variable (>0.4), at constant but low Se/Te <10 and which is accompanied by modification of the Os isotopic composition of the host peridotite. As they are sensitive indicators of BMS ± PGM metasomatism, HSE, Se and Te should be systematically considered when investigating the timing of stabilisation of lithospheric mantle and its petrogenetic history. This would allow a more robust assessment of the Re–Os ages obtained and provide firmer constraints on the evolution and formation of Archean cratons and early Earth dynamics.