Olivine and Melt Inclusion Chemical Constraints on the Source of Intracontinental Basalts from the Eastern North China Craton: Discrimination of Contributions from the Subducted Pacific Slab

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Contributions from fluid and melt inputs from the subducting Pacific slab to the chemical makeup of intraplate basalts erupted on the eastern Eurasian continent have long been suggested but have not thus far been geochemically constrained. To attempt to address this question, we have investigated Cenozoic basaltic rocks from the western Shandong and Bohai Bay Basin, eastern North China Craton (NCC), which preserve coherent relationships among the chemistries of their melt inclusions, their hosting olivines and their bulk rock compositions. Three groups of samples are distinguished: (1) high-Si and (2) moderate-Si basalts (tholeiites, alkali basalts and basanites) which were erupted at ∼23–20 Ma, and (3) low-Si basalts (nephelinites) which were erupted at <9 Ma. The high-Si basalts have lower alkalies, CaO and FeOT contents, lower trace element concentrations, lower La/Yb, Sm/Yb and Ce/Pb but higher Ba/Th ratios, and lower εNd and εHf values than the low-Si basalts. The olivines in the high-Si basalts have higher Ni and lower Mn and Ca at a given Fo value than those crystallizing from peridotite melts, and their corresponding melt inclusions have lower CaO contents than peridotite melts, suggesting a garnet pyroxenitic source. The magmatic olivines from low-Si basalts have lower Ni but higher Mn at a given Fo value than that of the high-Si basalts, suggesting more olivine in its source. The olivine-hosted melt inclusions of the low-Si basalts have major elemental signatures different from melts of normal peridotitic or garnet pyroxenitic mantle sources, pointing to their derivation from a carbonated mantle source consisting of peridotite and garnet pyroxenite. We propose a model involving the differential melting of a subduction-modified mantle source to account for the generation of these three suites of basalts. Asthenospheric mantle beneath the eastern NCC, which entrains garnet pyroxenite with an EM1 isotopic signature, was metasomatized by carbonatitic melts from carbonated eclogite derived from subducted Pacific slab materials present in the deeper mantle. High degree melting of garnet pyroxenites from a shallower mantle source produced the early (∼23–20 Ma) higher-Si basalts. Mixing of these materials with deeper-sourced melts of carbonated mantle source produced the moderate-Si basalts. A thicker lithosphere after 9 Ma precluded melting of shallower garnet pyroxenites, so melts of the deeper carbonated mantle source are responsible for the low-Si basalts.

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Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, v. 178, p. 1-19