Pyroxenite xenoliths from Marsabit (Northern Kenya): evidence for different magmatic events in the lithospheric mantle and interaction between peridotite and pyroxenite

Kaeser, Benjamin ; Olker, Bettina ; Kalt, Angelika ; Altherr, Rainer ; Pettke, Thomas

In: Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 2009, vol. 157, no. 4, p. 453-472

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    Garnet-bearing and garnet-free pyroxenite xenoliths from Quaternary basanites of Marsabit, northern Kenya, were analysed for microstructures and mineral compositions (major and trace elements) to constrain the thermal and compositional evolution of the lithospheric mantle in this region. Garnet-bearing rocks are amphibole-bearing websterite with ~5-10 vol% orthopyroxene. Clinopyroxene is LREE-depleted and garnet has high HREE contents, in agreement with an origin as cumulates from basaltic mantle melts. Primary orthopyroxene inclusions in garnet suggest that the parental melts were orthopyroxene-saturated. Rock fabrics vary from weakly to strongly deformed. Thermobarometry indicates extensive decompression and cooling (~970-1,100°C at ~2.3-2.6GPa to ~700-800°C at ~0.5-1.0GPa) during deformation, best interpreted as pyroxenite intrusion into thick Paleozoic continental lithosphere subsequently followed by continental rifting (i.e., formation of the Mesozoic Anza Graben). During continental rifting, garnet websterites were decompressed (garnet-to-spinel transition) and experienced the same P-T evolution as their host peridotites. Strongly deformed samples show compositional overlaps with cpx-rich, initially garnet-bearing lherzolite, best explained by partial re-equilibration of peridotite and pyroxenite during deformation and mechanical mingling. In contrast, garnet-free pyroxenites include undeformed, cumulate-like samples, indicating that they are younger than the garnet websterites. Major and trace element compositions of clinopyroxene and calculated equilibrium melts suggest crystallisation from alkaline basaltic melt similar to the host basanite, which suggests formation in the context of alkaline magmatism during the development of the Kenya rift