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What can we learn from REE abundances in clinopyroxene and orthopyroxene in residual mantle peridotites?
  • Yan Liang,
  • Zejia Ji,
  • Boda Liu
Yan Liang
Brown University, Brown University

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Zejia Ji
Peking University, Peking University
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Boda Liu
Rice University, Rice University
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Clinopyroxene and orthopyroxene are the two major repositories of rare earth elements (REE) in spinel peridotites. Most geochemical studies of REE in mantle samples focus on clinopyroxene. Recent advances in in situ trace element analysis has made it possible to measure REE abundance in orthopyroxene. The purpose of this study is to determine what additional information one can learn about mantle processes from REE abundances in orthopyroxene coexisting with clinopyroxene in residual spinel peridotites. To address this question, we select a group of spinel peridotite xenoliths (9 samples) and a group of abyssal peridotites (12 samples) that are considered residues of mantle melting and that have major element and REE compositions in the two pyroxenes reported in the literature. We use a disequilibrium double-porosity melting model and the Markov chain Monte Carlo method to invert melting parameters from REE abundance in the bulk sample. We then use a subsolidus reequilibration model to calculate REE redistribution between cpx and opx at the extent of melting inferred from the bulk REE data and at the closure temperature of REE in the two pyroxenes. We compare the calculated results with those observed in clinopyroxene and orthopyroxene in the selected peridotitic samples. Results from our two-step melting followed by subsolidus reequilibration modeling show that it is more reliable to deduce melting parameters from REE abundance in the bulk peridotite than in clinopyroxene. We do not recommend the use of REE in clinopyroxene alone to infer the degree of melting experienced by the mantle xenolith, as HREE in clinopyroxene in the xenolith are reset by subsolidus reequilibration. In general, LREE in orthopyroxene and HREE in clinopyroxene are more susceptible to subsolidus redistribution. The extent of redistribution depends on the modes of clinopyroxene and orthopyroxene in the sample and thermal history experienced by the peridotite. By modeling subsolidus redistribution of REE between orthopyroxene and clinopyroxene after melting, we show that it is possible to discriminate mineral mode of the starting mantle and cooling rate experienced by the peridotitic sample. We conclude that endmembers of the depleted MORB mantle and the primitive mantle are not homogeneous in mineral mode. A modally heterogeneous peridotitic starting mantle provides a simple explanation for the large variations of mineral mode observed in mantle xenoliths and abyssal peridotites. Finally, by using different starting mantle compositions in our simulations, we show that composition of the primitive mantle is more suitable for modeling REE depletion in cratonic mantle xenoliths than the composition of the depleted MORB mantle.
Mar 2021Published in Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology volume 176 issue 3. 10.1007/s00410-021-01780-x