Mantle-derived sources of syenites from the A-type igneous suites - New approach to the provenance of alkaline silicic magmas

B. A. Litvinovsky, B. M. Jahn, M. Eyal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Granite is generally dominant in A-type igneous suites but these frequently include also alkali feldspar- and peralkaline- syenite and quartz syenite. Such syenites can provide essential information about magma sources and mode of generation of A-type silicic magma. This paper addresses the petrogenesis of syenites based on comparisons between the Mongolian-Transbaikalian Belt, Russia (MTB), and the northern Arabian-Nubian Shield (ANS) as exposed in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt and adjacent areas of southern Israel. The syenitic rocks from MTB and ANS are characterized by high alkali content (Na2O+K2O=10.5 to 12.5wt.%) and are assigned to alkaline metaluminous and peralkaline granitoids. Peralkaline syenites are generally richer in Na and contain slightly less K and Ba than are metaluminous granitoids. REE abundances are similar in all types of syenites. The Eu/Eu* ratios range commonly from 0.35 to 0.65, although higher values, up to 1.15, attributed to presence of accumulated Afs and minor Pl, also occur in some plutons. The geochemical and Sr-Nd isotope characteristics of associated syenite, granite and monzogabbro from five igneous suites (~80 samples) suggest that the main rock types, silicic and mafic, are cogenetic in each suite. Syenite magmas were produced from mantle-derived source with little, if any silicic crustal component. The generation of abundant A-type granite and syenite magmas in the young juvenile crust (ANS) argues that old continental crust is not required for generation of highly alkaline silicic magmas, as commonly advocated. The most probable source of both syenite and granite was mantle-derived K-rich shoshonitic monzogabbro. The bimodal character of the A-type suites suggests that partial melting of monzogabbro, rather than fractional crystallization of basic magma, accompanied with enrichment of a cumulate phase in the mafic units, was the dominant mode of granitoid magma formation. Granite magmas were produced in the lower crust at ~20% of melting, whereas syenite-quartz syenite magmas could be generated by melting of ~25-30%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-265
Number of pages24
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2015


  • A-type granite
  • Arabian-Nubian Shield
  • Mongolian-Transbaikalian Belt
  • Partial melting of monzogabbro
  • Syenite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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