Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 131, Issue 2–3, pp 258–272 | Cite as

Evidence for the multiple stage evolution of the subcontinental lithospheric mantle beneath the Eifel (Germany) from pyroxenite and composite pyroxenite/peridotite xenoliths

  • G. Witt-Eickschen
  • U. Kramm


High temperature (1150–1250 °C), coarse-grained olivine-bearing clinopyroxenites occur in the ash-tuffs of the Dreiser Weiher maar-type volcano (West Eifel, Germany) as discrete xenoliths or as 1-5-cm-broad veins crosscutting anhydrous spinel peridotite host xenoliths. The clinopyroxenes (cpx) of these xenoliths have been analysed for trace element and Nd-Sr isotope compositions in order to document intra-suite variations and to constrain the processes involved in the formation of heterogeneities within a relatively well defined upper mantle section beneath the West Eifel. The patterns formed by cpx from the pyroxenites on multi-element diagrams are subparallel and convex-upward, showing troughs for high-field-strength elements (Nb, Zr, Hf, Ti) and Sr. Trace element modelling indicates that these pyroxenites represent high pressure precipitates of magmas that are more primitive or similar in compositions to the most undifferentiated Cenozoic alkali basaltic lavas from the West Eifel. The cpx cover the whole spectrum of Nd-Sr isotope compositions shown by the primitive lavas from the entire West Eifel volcanic field suggesting isotopic heterogeneity on the scale of an individual volcanic centre. Due to incomplete re-equilibration between the vein melts and the peridotitic wall rocks, cpx of the host peridotites of the composite xenoliths (that belong to the 1b-group of Stosch and Seck, 1980) have in some cases retained relics of a pre-vein host composition. The relic cpx range from LREE-depleted to LREE-enriched with isotope signatures indicating a time-integrated higher enrichment (lower 143Nd/144Nd and higher 87Sr/86Sr) than the cpx of the corresponding veins. The trace element and isotope compositions of the xenoliths support the perception that magmas generated from sub-lithospheric mantle sources beneath the West Eifel formed a system of narrow dike networks and differentiated during their ascent through the lithosphere (Duda and Schmincke 1985). The data provide evidence that: (1) melts parental to the Dreiser Weiher pyroxenites are genetically related to the young alkali basaltic volcanics; (2) these melts can be derived from distinct domains of the mantle beneath Dreiser Weiher ranging in Sr-Nd isotope signatures from HIMU-like to Bulk-Silicate-Earth values; (3) the enrichment process associated with the upwards migration of these magmas was spatially limited to a cm-scale in the case of the studied composite xenoliths; (4) parts of the Dreiser Weiher lithosphere have experienced an enrichment prior to the vein interaction by a metasomatic agent that is isotopically unrelated to the primitive West Eifel lavas.


Spinel Peridotite Subcontinental Lithospheric Mantle Metasomatic Agent Trace Element Modelling Host Peridotite 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Witt-Eickschen
    • 1
  • U. Kramm
    • 2
  1. 1.Institut für Mineralogie und Geochemie der Universität, Zülpicher Str. 49b, D-50674 Köln, Germany Tel.: 010 49 221 470 3710; Fax: 010 49 221 470 5199DE
  2. 2.Institut für Mineralogie und Lagerstättenkunde der Universität, Wüllnerstr. 2, D-52056 Aachen, GermanyDE

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