The persistence of off-cratonic lithospheric mantle: Os isotopic systematics of variably metasomatised southeast Australian xenoliths
The Re sbnd Os systematics of a suite of spinel peridotite xenoliths from southeast Australia provide insight into the effects of melt extraction and metasomatism on Re and Os and place strong constraints on the evolution and long-term stability of post-Archean lithospheric mantle in a tectonically complex region. Data from variably melt-depleted and non-modally metasomatised xenoliths demonstrate that Re abundances are largely controlled by melt extraction, with Re similarly distributed to Os. Ratios of ReOs correlate strongly with indices of melt extraction (e.g. Al 2O 3, Ni and Yb), and with the calculated bulk partition coefficient of Re, comparable to that of Yb over a large range of melt extraction (∼ 4-20%). Hence, if Re is controlled by sulfide phases, sulfur:clinopyroxene ratios should remain essentially constant over large degrees of melt extraction. Eight of the 24 samples analysed were wehrlites or apatite-bearing peridoties, representing residual peridotite which has interacted with a carbonatitic melt. In comparison with the non-modally metasomatised xenoliths, these samples show no evidence for disturbance of Os isotopic composition, or addition of Re or Os during metasomatism. The entire suite provides a 220 km long, WNW-ESE lithospheric mantle transect, east of, and perpendicular to, the presumed Australian Precambrian shield margin. The Os model ages indicate at least three episodes of mantle depletion: ca. 1960 Ma, 800-1000 Ma and < 500 Ma. The older age is found only in the two westernmost localities where a subset of four samples define a Re sbnd Os age of 1959 ± 100 Ma, with an initial γOs = +0.2. Although the oldest exposed rocks in the region are of Cambrian age, and the presence of early Proterozoic basement is highly contentious, the Os isotopic data require that early Proterozoic basement extends some 400 km further east than the easternmost exposed early Proterozoic crust. Model ages of 800-1000 Ma are common to all but one locality, indicating at least two melt extraction events in the western localities. Paleozoic ages are only identified in the eastern localities, suggesting the lithospheric mantle becomes younger to the east. Importantly, this and other Re sbnd Os isotopic studies provide increasing evidence for the long-term stability and persistence of lithospheric mantle of Proterozoic as well as of Archean age.