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Carbonated mantle lithosphere in the western Canadian Cordillera Peterson, Nils Daniel


Accessory minerals such as carbonates and sulfides are important indicators of metasomatic enrichment events in the mantle lithosphere and ultimately control mantle melting. However, these phases are rarely expressed modally in mantle-derived peridotitic xenoliths. Here we report on a unique occurrence of primary mantle-derived carbonate preserved in spinel peridotite xenoliths within a 19 Ma basanite dike. The dike, defined as part of the Cheslatta Lake suite, intrudes Jurassic volcaniclastic rocks near the Intermontane - Coast Belt boundary in western British Columbia, and contains primary magmatic calcite. The peridotite xenoliths are concentrated in a 4 metre interval where the dike is narrowest and are dominated by lherzolite, with less abundant harzburgite, dunite, and websterite. Thermometry (Taylor, 1998) produces paleoequilibration temperatures of 792 to 1044 °C, corresponding to approximately 32 to 49 km depth on an average geotherm for warm, thin Cordilleran-style lithosphere. Magnesian calcite occurs in all of the 51 xenoliths examined. The Mg-calcite appears as intergranular grains that appear to have been in textural equilibrium with neighbouring minerals, as inclusions, and as fracture-filling veins, commonly in association with pentlandite and chalcopyrite. Carbon-oxygen isotopic compositions of carbonates from the dike, wall rock, and xenoliths indicates that each have distinct compositions. Oxygen isotopic compositions of the xenoliths’ carbonate indicates that, consistent with textural observations, the carbonates have equilibrated with the host mantle, having δ¹⁸O compositions less than 3 ‰ greater than compositions interpreted for primary mantle-derived carbonatites. In addition, carbonates from the mantle xenoliths fall into two separate groups identified by different δ¹³C and ⁸⁷Sr/⁸⁶Sr isotopic compositions, indicating different sources for carbonate in the two xenolith groups, and thus multiple enrichment events. Strontium isotopic ratios also show that the dike scavenged carbonate from disaggregated mantle xenoliths, becoming enriched in CO₂. Timing of enrichment is unconstrained, and no relationships between the host magma and mantle-derived xenoliths is required, contrasting with other studies. A plausible metasomatic agent is a carbonate melt with associated monosulfide solution, derived from the subduction of oceanic crust beneath North America during Coast Plutonic Belt magmatism, when Mt. Preston was in an arc to back arc position.

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