International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 106, Issue 3, pp 939–958

Nature and evolution of lithospheric mantle beneath the southern Ethiopian rift zone: evidence from petrology and geochemistry of mantle xenoliths

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00531-016-1342-z

Cite this article as:
Alemayehu, M., Zhang, HF. & Sakyi, P.A. Int J Earth Sci (Geol Rundsch) (2017) 106: 939. doi:10.1007/s00531-016-1342-z


Mantle xenoliths hosted in Quaternary basaltic lavas from the Dillo and Megado areas of the southern Ethiopian rift are investigated to understand the geochemical composition and associated processes occurring in the lithospheric mantle beneath the region. The xenoliths are comprised of predominantly spinel lherzolite with subordinate harzburgite and clinopyroxenite. Fo content of olivine and Cr# of spinel for peridotites from both localities positively correlate and suggest the occurrence of variable degrees of partial melting and melt extraction. The clinopyroxene from lherzolites is both LREE depleted (La/Sm(N) = 0.11–0.37 × Cl) and LREE enriched (La/Sm(N) = 1.88–15.72 × Cl) with flat HREEs (Dy/Lu(N) = 0.96–1.31 × Cl). All clinopyroxene from the harzburgites and clinopyroxenites exhibits LREE-enriched (La/Sm(N) = 2.92–27.63.1 × Cl and, 0.45 and 1.38 × Cl, respectively) patterns with slight fractionation of HREE. The 143Nd/144Nd and 176Hf/177Hf ratios of clinopyroxene from lherzolite range from 0.51291 to 0.51370 and 0.28289 to 0.28385, respectively. Most of the samples define ages of 900 and 500 Ma on Sm–Nd and Lu–Hf reference isochrons, within the age range of Pan-African crustal formation. The initial Nd and Hf isotopic ratios were calculated at 1, 1.5, 2 and 2.5 Ga plot away from the trends defined by MORB, DMM and E-DMM which were determined from southern Ethiopian peridotites, thus indicating that the Dillo and Megado xenoliths could have been produced by melt extraction from the asthenosphere during the Pan-African orogenic event. There is no significant difference in 87Sr/86Sr ratios between the depleted and enriched clinopyroxene. This suggests that the melts that caused the enrichment of the clinopyroxene are mainly derived from the depleted asthenospheric mantle from which the xenoliths are extracted. Largely, the mineralogical and isotopic compositions of the xenoliths show heterogeneity of the CLM that could have been produced from various degrees of melt extraction, followed by metasomatism.


Dillo–Megado Mantle xenoliths Depletion Enrichment Sr–Nd–Hf isotopes 

Supplementary material

531_2016_1342_MOESM1_ESM.docx (15 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 14 kb)
531_2016_1342_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (46 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (XLSX 46 kb)

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
National Science Foundation of China
  • 41450110429
  • 91414301

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Lithospheric EvolutionInstitute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of Earth Science, School of Earth Science and Mining EngineeringAddis Ababa Science and Technology UniversityAddis AbabaEthiopia
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Continental Dynamics, Department of GeologyNorthwest UniversityXi’anChina
  4. 4.Department of Earth ScienceUniversity of GhanaLegon-AccraGhana

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