Metasomatism and origin of glass in the lithospheric mantle xenoliths beneath Ain Temouchent area (North-West Algeria)

  • Mohamed Chakib Lahmer
  • Abdelmadjid SeddikiEmail author
  • Mohamed Zerka
  • Jean-Yves Cottin
  • Mohammed Tabeliouna
Original Paper


A spinel ± amphibole ± feldspar bearing Iherzolites, a spinel ± amphibole ± feldspar bearing harzburgites, and a spinel ± amphibole ± phlogopite bearing wehrlites are metasomatized peridotitic mantle xenoliths from Ain Temouchent volcanic complex (North-West Algeria). These xenoliths are metamorphic/deformed rocks with a strong planar fabric typical of mantle tectonites. The wehrlites are not the result of a simple model of partial melting. The spinel ± amphibole ± feldspar bearing harzburgites and lherzolites exhibit asymmetric concave-shaped REE patterns. These indicate that an earlier partial melting event was followed by metasomatic processes. The wehrlites have higher REE concentrations and LREE/HREE fractionations, indicating a sequential evolution of wehrlites from previous refractory material with melting as an addition process. This process reflects the interaction of the lithospheric mantle beneath the Ain Temouchent area with basaltic melt. Metasomatism is expressed by the formation of amphibole, phlogopite, and increased abundances of clinopyroxene at the expense of orthopyroxene, in lherzolite and harzburgite. In the Ain Temouchent area, metasomatizing agents are Na-alkali silicates. The similarities observed between the glasses studied in this paper, and the basaltic host rocks of the Ain Temouchent area, may suggest a common mantle source, or with chemical similarities but with relatively different evolutions pathways. The formation of glass in wehrlites from the Ain Temouchent area has an origin formed by the breakdown of amphibole or phlogopite as a result of decompressional melting and production of silica-undersaturated glasses. The glass reacts with essentially orthopyroxene to produce silica-rich glasses. This study has contributed to highlighting a relationship between glass, and the processes that caused the formation of metasomatic phases.


Mantle xenoliths Partial melting Metasomatic process Basaltic melt Silicic glass AinTemouchent area 



Our special thanks go to Peter Bowden, for revising the English language. He is “Professeur Invité” in the Département de Géologie at Université de Saint Etienne and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of African Earth Sciences from 1993 to 2001 and Senior Lecturer and coordinator for the BSc Geochemistry degree at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, from 1987 to 1998. He is a specialist in African Geology.


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© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire Géoressources et Risques Naturels (GEOREN)Université d’Oran2OranAlgeria
  2. 2.FSTUUniversité d’Oran2OranAlgeria
  3. 3.Univ-Lyon, UJM Saint Etienne, UMR 6524 “Magmas et Volcans”Saint EtienneFrance

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