Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 164, Issue 5, pp 731–745 | Cite as

Redox state of deep off-craton lithospheric mantle: new data from garnet and spinel peridotites from Vitim, southern Siberia

  • A. G. Goncharov
  • D. A. IonovEmail author
Original Paper


Oxygen fugacity (fO2) affects melting, metasomatism, speciation of C–O–H fluids and carbon-rich phases in the upper mantle. fO2 of deep off-craton mantle is poorly known because garnet-peridotite xenoliths are rare in alkali basalts. We examine the redox and thermal state of the lithospheric mantle between the Siberian and North China cratons using new Fe3+/ΣFe ratios in garnet and spinel obtained by Mössbauer spectroscopy, major element data and PT estimates for 22 peridotite xenoliths as well as published data for 15 xenoliths from Vitim, Russia. Shallow spinel-facies mantle is more oxidized than deep garnet peridotites (average, −0.1 vs. −2.5 ΔlogfO2(FMQ)). For intermediate garnet–spinel peridotites, fO2 estimates from spinel-based oxybarometers are 1.5–3.2 ΔlogfO2(FMQ) lower than those from garnet-based oxybarometers. These rocks may be out of phase and chemical inter-mineral equilibrium because the spinel–garnet reaction and concomitant changes in mineral chemistry do not keep up with PT changes (e.g., lithospheric heating by recent volcanism) due to slow diffusion of trivalent cations and because gar-, gar-spl and spl-facies rocks may coexist on centimeter–meter scale. The spinel-based fO2 estimates may not be correct while garnet-based fO2 values provide conditions before the heating. The T (780–1,100 °C) and fO2 ranges of the Vitim xenoliths overlap those of coarse garnet and spinel cratonic peridotites. However, because of a higher geothermal gradient, the deepest Vitim garnet peridotites are more reduced (by 0.5–2.0 ΔlogfO2(FMQ)) than cratonic garnet peridotites at similar depths, and the “water maximum” conditions (>80 % H2O) in the off-craton mantle exist in a more shallow and narrow depth range (60–85 km) than in cratonic roots (100–170 km). The base of the off-craton lithospheric mantle (≥90 km) at 2.5 GPa and 1,150 °C has fO2 of −3.0 ∆logfO2(FMQ), with dominant CH4 and H2O and minor H2 in the fluid. Melting near the base of off-craton mantle lithosphere may be induced by increasing water share in migrating fluids due to oxidation of methane.


Oxygen fugacity Off-craton lithosphere Mantle xenolith Garnet-spinel transition Garnet peridotite Central Asia 



AGG thanks I. Ashchepkov for donating Vitim xenoliths, L.-S. Doucet for logistic and technical assistance in St Etienne and D. Frost for providing a program for computing fluid compositions, and acknowledges a CMIRA fellowship of the French Rhône-Alpes region in 2010–2011 and funding from the Russian Foundation of Fundamental Research (RFBR grants 10-05-01017 and 11-05-00346). DAI acknowledges PNP grants from the French CNRS in 2011 and 2012.

Supplementary material (54 kb)
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Université J. Monnet (member of PRES—Université de Lyon)Saint-ÉtienneFrance
  2. 2.UMR6524-CNRSSaint-ÉtienneFrance
  3. 3.Institute of Precambrian Geology and Geochronology RASSaint-PetersburgRussia

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