EGU General Assembly 2022
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Preliminary characteristics of mantle xenoliths from Mt. Briançon (Massif Central, France) - missing information about the lithospheric mantle beneath Devès volcanic field

Małgorzata Ziobro-Mikrut1, Jacek Puziewicz1, Sonja Aulbach2, Theodoros Ntaflos3, and Magdalena Matusiak-Małek1
Małgorzata Ziobro-Mikrut et al.
  • 1University of Wroclaw, Faculty of Earth Sciences and Environmental Management, Institute of Geological Sciences, Wroclaw, Poland (
  • 2Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Institute for Geosciences and Frankfurt Isotope and Element Research Center (FIERCE), Frankfurt, Germany
  • 3University of Vienna, Department of Lithospheric Research, Vienna, Austria

The 3.5-0.5 Ma Devès volcanic field consists mainly of nepheline basanite rocks. The underlying Variscan basement is a part of the western Moldanubian Zone (an allochton of the European Variscan orogen, probably the Gondwana margin). The Devès volcanic field is located in the “southern” mantle domain of Massif Central (MC), which consists of fertile lithospheric mantle (LM) little affected by partial melting [1]. These characteristics probably resulted from intense metasomatism by melts coming from the upwelling asthenosphere [2].

Despite the rich literature dealing with the LM beneath the Devès volcanic field, some textural and geochemical details remain obscure. We studied a large xenolith population (n – 21) from Mt.Briançon (NW of the Devès volcanic field) with extensive use of EMPA and LA-ICP-MS in order to obtain a comprehensive and representative data set, and here present the preliminary findings.

The Mt.Briançon xenoliths are typically oval in shape and vary in size from 4 to 13 cm. The host rocks are tuff and scoria deposits. The xenoliths are mostly anhydrous spinel lherzolites rich in clinopyroxene (cpx, modal content up to 28%) and scarce harzburgites. One xenolith consists of olivine clinopyroxenite in contact with peridotite. The peridotites exhibit serial texture or different stages of porphyroclastic texture. In some xenoliths elongated spinel is arranged in streaks.

Most of the three major phases in the peridotites are homogenous at the grain and xenolith scale. Olivine Fo is typically 88.5-90.4% in the whole suite, and NiO content is 0.35-0.43 wt.%. Orthopyroxene (opx) has Mg# 0.89-0.91 and 0.128-0.217 atoms of Al per formula unit (apfu). Cpx has Mg# 0.88-0.91 and Al content of 0.208-0.316 apfu and spinel Cr# is highly variable in the whole suite (0.09-0.28). In contrast, one harzburgite (sample 4025) has olivine with higher Fo (~91.2%), opx with higher Mg# (~0.92) and lower Al content (0.111-0.116 apfu), cpx with Mg# ~0.92 and Al content of ~0.145 apfu, and spinel Cr# of ~0.43 and Mg# of ~0.75.

The main observed REE pattern in peridotite cpx is relatively flat Lu-Eu and slightly, but variably depleted in lighter REE. In several xenoliths cpx exhibits various REE patterns, transitioning from LREE-depleted to relatively flat or slightly LREE-enriched, while a few samples contain cpx with REE abundances moderately increasing Lu-Sm and steeply increasing towards La. The majority of peridotite opx REE patterns are moderately decreasing in Lu-Sm and more steeply decreasing towards La, whereas a less common opx pattern is similar to the previous one in Lu-Nd, but much less depleted in lighter REE. This opx coexists with LREE-rich cpx.

This study confirms that the LM beneath Mt.Briançon is mostly lherzolitic and quite fertile in terms of major elements. Ongoing work, utilizing the diversity of lithologies and pyroxene REE patterns, combined with detailed major-element and REE thermometry and with textural observations, will provide detailed insights into the microstructural, thermal and metasomatic history of the LM beneath the MC.


This study was funded by Polish National Science Centre to MZM (UMO-2018/29/N/ST10/00259).



[1] Uenver-Thiele L. et al. (2017). JPetrol 58, 395–422.

[2] Puziewicz J. et al. (2020). Lithos 362–363, 105467.

How to cite: Ziobro-Mikrut, M., Puziewicz, J., Aulbach, S., Ntaflos, T., and Matusiak-Małek, M.: Preliminary characteristics of mantle xenoliths from Mt. Briançon (Massif Central, France) - missing information about the lithospheric mantle beneath Devès volcanic field, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-4351,, 2022.