Effects of multi-stage rifting and metasomatism on HSE-187Os/188Os systematics of the cratonic mantle beneath SW Greenland

  • Sonja AulbachEmail author
  • Jing Sun
  • Sebastian Tappe
  • Axel Gerdes
Original Paper


We report highly siderophile element (HSE) abundances and Re–Os isotope compositions, obtained by isotope dilution inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, of olivine separates from a suite of multiply metasomatised peridotite xenoliths entrained in kimberlites from SW Greenland. Combined with petrographic and compositional observations on accessory base metal sulphides (BMS), the results reveal new insights into the chemical, physical and mineralogical effects of multi-stage rifting and associated melt percolation on the Archaean lithospheric mantle. Refertilised lherzolites are dominated by rare to frequent small (tens of µm) BMS inclusions in olivine, whereas modally metasomatised phlogopite-bearing lherzolite and wehrlites have higher proportions of more Ni-rich BMS, including abundant large interstitial grains (hundreds of µm). The olivine separates display depleted HSE systematics with Primitive Upper Mantle (PUM)-normalised Pd/Ir of 0.014–0.62, and have both depleted and enriched 187Os/188Os (0.1139–0.2724) relative to chondrite that are not correlated with 187Re/188Os. Four out of ten olivine separates retain similarly depleted Os corresponding to Re-depletion model ages of 2.1–1.8 Ga. They may reflect Palaeoproterozoic refertilisation (lherzolitisation) during Laurentia plate assembly, with re-introduction of clinopyroxene and Os-rich BMS into the originally refractory mantle lithosphere by asthenosphere-derived basaltic melts, followed by recrystallisation and occlusion in olivine. Unradiogenic Os is observed regardless of lithology, including from peridotites that contain abundant interstitial BMS. This reflects addition of Os-poor BMS (<< 1 ppm) during more recent wehrlitisation and phlogopite-introduction, and control of the Os isotopic signature by older Os-rich BMS that precipitated from the basaltic melt. Depletions in compatible HSE (< 0.5 × PUM for Ru, Ir, Os) in all but one olivine separate reflect nugget effects (amount of depleted vs. metasomatic BMS inclusions) and/or loss due to sulphide dissolution into oxidising small-volume melts that invaded the lithosphere during recurrent rifting, the latter supported by similar depletions in published bulk peridotite data. Combined, these multiple metasomatic events destroyed all vestiges of Mesoarchaean or older inheritance in the olivine separates investigated here, and highlight that caution is needed when interpreting Proterozoic Os model ages in terms of Proterozoic lithosphere stabilisation.


Subcontinental lithosphere Mantle metasomatism Platinum-group elements Highly siderophile elements Base metal sulphides 



We thank Maximilian Engel and Theodoros Potouridis for help with sulphide characterisation and the high-pressure asher, respectively. Troels Nielsen is gratefully acknowledged for making the specimens available from the GEUS rock storage facility. Incisive and constructive reviews by Kristoffer Szilas and an anonymous reviewer as well as editorial comments by Chris Ballhaus greatly improved the manuscript. The German Research Foundation (DFG) is thanked for support under grant GE1152/9. Part of this work was carried out during JS’s research stay in Germany, which was supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). ST acknowledges support by the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, and by the DST-NRF CIMERA Centre of Excellence at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für GeowissenschaftenGoethe UniversitätFrankfurtGermany
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Lithospheric Evolution, Institute of Geology and GeophysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Department of GeologyUniversity of JohannesburgAuckland ParkSouth Africa

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