Garnet lherzolites from Louwrensia, Namibia: Bulk composition and P/T relations


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Bulk, mineral and trace element analyses of garnet lherzolite xenoliths from the Louwrensia kimberlite pipe, south-central Namibia, together with previously published Re-Os isotopic data [Chem. Geol. (2004)], form the most extensive set of chemical data for off-craton suites from southern Africa. The Louwrensia suite is similar to those from the Kaapvaal craton in that it includes both predominantly coarse-grained, equant-textured peridotites characterised by equilibration temperatures <1100 ??C and variably deformed peridotites, frequently sheared, with higher equilibration temperatures >1200 ??C. Redepletion ages range back to 2.1 Gy, concordant with the age of the crustal basement and about 1 Gy younger than the older peridotites of the adjacent Kaapvaal craton root. The coarse, low-temperature Louwrensia peridotites have an average Mg number for olivine of 91.6 in comparison to 92.6 for low-temperature peridotites from the craton. Orthopyroxene content averages 24 wt.% with a range of 11-40 wt.% for Louwrensia low-temperature peridotites, in comparison to a mean of 31.5 wt.% and a range of 11-44 wt.% for low-temperature peridotites from the Kaapvaal craton. Other major, minor and trace element concentrations in minerals forming Louwrensia lherzolites are more similar to values in corresponding Kaapvaal peridotite minerals than to those in lithospheric peridotites of Phanerozoic age as represented by off-craton basalt-hosted xenoliths and orogenic peridotites. Proportions of clinopyroxene and garnet in both the Louwrensia and Kaapvaal lherzolites overlap in the range up to 10 wt.% forming a trend extending towards pyrolite composition. Disequilibrium element partitioning between clinopyroxene and garnet for some incompatible trace elements is evidence that some of the trend is caused by enrichment following depletion. The disequilibrium is interpreted to have been caused by relatively recent growth of diopside, as previously suggested for cratonic peridotites. Attempts to constrain the depth of melting required to produce the Louwrensia peridotites suggests formation at pressures <3 GPa. Estimates of temperature and depth of equilibration for low-temperature Louwrensia lherzolites yield a trend that is in approximate agreement with the average geotherm for the Kaapvaal craton and may indicate that the lithospheric mantle beneath this region was at one time as thick as that beneath the craton (>200 km). Temperature-depth plots for the high-temperature Louwrensia rocks, however, form pronounced, apparent higher-temperature thermal anomalies at depths of 140 km and above. These anomalies are believed to reflect regional igneous activity, perhaps associated with thermal erosion of an originally thicker lithosphere, a short time prior to eruption. ?? 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Garnet lherzolites from Louwrensia, Namibia: Bulk composition and P/T relations
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