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Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences


Publication details for Professor Yaoling Niu

Liu, D., Zhan, Z.D., Zhu, D.-C., Niu, Yaoling, Widom, E., Teng, F.-Z., DePaolo, D.J., Ke, S., Xu, J.F., Wang, Q. & Mo, X.X. (2015). Identifying mantle carbonatite metasomatism through Os–Sr–Mg isotopes in Tibetan ultrapotassic rocks. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 430: 458-469.

Author(s) from Durham


Mantle-derived magmas at convergent plate boundaries provide unique insights into the nature of materials subducted to and recycled from depths. Here we present a study of Os–Sr–Mg isotopes on the Oligocene–Miocene ultrapotassic rocks aimed at better understanding sediment subduction and recycling beneath southern Tibet. New isotopic data confirm that ultrapotassic rocks in southern Tibet are of mantle origin, but underwent crustal contamination as evidenced by the variably high 187Os/188Os that obviously deviates from normal mantle reservoir. Still some samples with mantle-like 187Os/188Os exhibit δ26Mg significantly lower than mantle and crustal lithologies, suggesting that the isotopically light Mg may not result from crustal contamination but retain specific fingerprint of carbonate-related metasomatism in mantle sources. Mantle carbonatite metasomatism is manifested by the inverse δ26Mg–87Sr/86Sr correlations, as well as the depletion of high field strength elements relative to rare earth elements and the enrichment of CaO in ultrapotassic rocks. The positive co-variations between δ26Mg and Hf/Sm defined by those low-187Os/188Os ultrapotassic rocks provide evidence for the potential of recycled dolomites to modify mantle Mg isotopic composition. The correlated spatial variations of δ26Mg and Hf/Sm are interpreted to reflect carbonatitic metasomatism associated with the northward subduction of the Neo-Tethyan oceanic slab and its profound influence on postcollisional ultrapotassic magmatism.