Ultramafic Carbonated Melt- and Auto-Metasomatism in Mantle Eclogites: Compositional Effects and Geophysical Consequences

Sonja Aulbach, Malcolm Massuyeau, Joshua M. Garber, Axel Gerdes, Larry M. Heaman, K. S. Viljoen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2019GC008774
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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