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Oxidation states of the upper mantle recorded by megacryst ilmenite in kimberlite and type A and B spinel lherzolites

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The intrinsic oxygen fugacities of homogeneous, inclusion-free, megacryst ilmenites from the Frank Smith, Excelsior, Sekameng and Mukorob kimberlite pipes in southern Africa, and the alnöitic breccia in the Solomon Islands have been determined. Similar measurements have been made of the type A and B spinel peridotites from San Carlos in Arizona. The type A peridotites are characterised by oxygen fugacities close to the iron-wüstite buffer, similar to those of equivalent peridotite specimens from other continental and island arc environments. In strong contrast, the type B peridotites and all of the ilmenite megacrysts range between the oxygen fugacities defined by the nickelnickel oxide and fayalite-magnetite-quartz buffers. A close relationship between type B peridotites, oxidized metasomatizing fluids in the upper mantle and oxidized, silicaundersaturated magma types is suggested. It is unlikely that a solid elemental carbon phase can be an equilibrium crystallization product of kimberlite magmas if the ilmenite megacrysts represent the redox state of kimberlite melts. The ultimate source of the oxidizing fluids and the development of such a wide dispersion (>4 orders of magnitude) in oxygen fugacities of the upper mantle is not clear, but may involve recycled lithosphere, fluids from the lower mantle or result from the relatively rapid diffusion of H2, compared with other potential volatile species, in the mantle.

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Correspondence to R. J. Arculus.

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Arculus, R.J., Dawson, J.B., Mitchell, R.H. et al. Oxidation states of the upper mantle recorded by megacryst ilmenite in kimberlite and type A and B spinel lherzolites. Contr. Mineral. and Petrol. 85, 85–94 (1984). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00380225

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  • Lithosphere
  • Breccia
  • Ilmenite
  • Elemental Carbon
  • Oxygen Fugacity