Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 136, Issue 3, pp 225–239 | Cite as

Central European Cenozoic plume volcanism with OIB characteristics and indications of a lower mantle source

  • K. Hans Wedepohl
  • Albrecht Baumann


Average concentrations of incompatible elements and isotopes of radiogenic Sr, Nd and Pb in a 350 km long belt of Central European volcanics (CECV) resemble those in OIB in general and in OIB from the N Atlantic in particular. This similarity allows to infer comparable sources for CECV and OIB which might have been located in the lower mantle according to seismic tomography and chemistry, with the latter unlike a MORB source. The incompatible element contribution of lower mantle origin can be modelled from primitive mantle minus continental crust and upper mantle inventories. Alkali basaltic magmas from the modelled source are close in composition to CECV and OIB. The continental crust contains almost half of the silicate Earth's content of Rb, K, Pb, Ba, Th and U, which were mobilized to a major extent through dehydration of subducted ocean crust. Related losses from the lower mantle had to be replaced by deep subductions of oceanic lithosphere recognized from their isotopic imprint. From a balance based on Nd isotopes it can be concluded that average CECV contains 60% matter from residual primitive mantle and 40% from deeply subducted lithosphere (including some young upper mantle materials). Plume products from separate CECV regions developed, within 45 Ma, from rather depleted to more primitive isotopic signatures. Four periods of volcanism from Eocene to late Quaternary time are explained as four pulses of an almost stationary ultrafast plume uprise as modelled by Larsen and Yuen (1997). Magma production has increased from the first to the third pulse with the peak during Miocene time in the Vogelsberg region. The final pulse produced the Quaternary Eifel volcanoes. Tectonism from the Alpine orogen has probably triggered the synchronous volcanism of CECV, Massif Central etc. The European lithospheric plate has moved under the control of the opening Atlantic almost in an eastern direction with a velocity of 1 cm per year and has shifted extinct volcanoes off their source channels.


Lithosphere Eocene Continental Crust Incompatible Element Oceanic Lithosphere 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Hans Wedepohl
    • 1
  • Albrecht Baumann
    • 2
  1. 1.Geochemisches Institut, Goldschmidtstr. 1, D-37077 Goettingen, GermanyDE
  2. 2.Zentrallaboratorium für Geochronologie, Corrensstr. 24, D-48149 Muenster, GermanyDE

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