Mantle metasomatism and magma formation in continental lithosphere: Data on xenoliths in alkali basalts from the Makhtesh Ramon, Negev desert, Israel

G. B. Fershtater, Z. A. Yudalevich

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3 Scopus citations


Mantle xenoliths (lherzolites, clinopyroxene dunites, wehrlites, and clinopyroxenites) in the Early Cretaceous volcanic rocks of Makhtesh Ramon (alkali olivine basalts, basanites, and nephelinites) represent metasomatized mantle, which served as a source of basaltic melts. The xenoliths bear signs of partial melting and previous metasomatic transformations. The latter include the replacement of orthopyroxene by clinopyroxene in the lherzolites and, respectively, the wide development of wehrlites and olivine clinopyoroxenites. Metasomatic alteration of the peridotites is accompanied by a sharp decrease in Mg, Cr, and Ni, and increase of Ti, Al, Ca contents and 3+Fe/2+Fe ratio, as well as the growth of trace V, Sc, Zr, Nb, and Y contents. The compositional features of the rocks such as the growth of 3+Fe/2+Fe and the wide development of Ti-magnetite in combination with the complete absence of sulfides indicate the high oxygen fugacity during metasomatism and the low sulfur concentration, which is a distinctive signature of fluid mode during formation of the Makhtesh Ramon alkali basaltic magma. Partial melting of peridotites and clinopyroxenites is accompanied by the formation of basanite or alkali basaltic melt. Clino- and orthopyroxenes are subjected to melting. The crystallization products of melt preserved in the mantle rock are localized in the interstices and consist mainly of fine-grained clinopyroxene, which together with Ti-magnetite, ilmenite, amphibole, rhenite, feldspar, and nepheline, is cemented by glass corresponding to quartz–orthopyroxene, olivine–orthopyroxene, quartz–feldspar, or nepheline–feldspar mixtures of the corresponding normative minerals. The mineral assemblages of xenoliths correspond to high temperatures. The high-Al and high-Ti clinopyroxene, calcium olivine, feldspar, and feldspathoids, amphibole, Ti-magnetite, and ilmenite are formed at 900–1000°. The study of melt and fluid inclusions in minerals from xenoliths indicate liquidus temperatures of 1200–1250°C, solidus temperatures of 1000–1100°C, and pressure of 5.9–9.5 kbar. Based on the amphibole–plagioclase barometer, amphibole and coexisting plagioclase were crystallized in clinopyroxenites at 6.5–7.0 kbar.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-205
Number of pages25
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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