Geochemistry of xenolithic eclogites from West Africa, part 2: Origins of the high MgO eclogites

Matthias G. Barth, Roberta L. Rudnick, Ingo Horn, William F. McDonough, Michael J. Spicuzza, John W. Valley, Stephen E. Haggerty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Citations (Scopus)


Oxygen isotope, mineral trace element, and measured and reconstructed whole-rock compositions are reported for the high MgO eclogite xenolith suite (16 to 20 wt% MgO in the whole rock) from the Koidu Kimberlite complex, Sierra Leone. In contrast to the previously published data for low MgO eclogites (6 to 13 wt% MgO) from this area, high MgO eclogites equilibrated at higher temperatures (1080 to 1130°C vs. 890 to 930°C) have only mantlelike δ18O and show variable degrees of light rare earth element (REE) enrichment. Analyses of multiple mineral generations suggest that the heterogeneous REE patterns of the high MgO eclogites reflect variable degrees of metasomatic overprinting. High MgO and Al2O3 contents of the eclogites suggest a cumulate origin, either as high-pressure (2 to 3 GPa) garnet-pyroxene cumulates or low-pressure (<1 GPa) plagioclase-pyroxene-olivine cumulates. Trace element modeling suggests a low-P origin for eclogites with flat heavy REE patterns and a high-P origin for eclogites with fractionated heavy REE. Flat heavy REE patterns, the presence of Sr anomalies, and low to moderate transition element contents in the low-P group are consistent with a low-pressure origin as metamorphosed olivine gabbros and troctolites. These metagabbroic high MgO eclogites either could represent the basal section of subducted oceanic crust or foundered mafic lower continental crust. In the former case, the metagabbroic high MgO eclogites may be genetically related to the Koidu low MgO suite. Crystal fractionation trends suggest that the metapyroxenitic high MgO eclogites formed at lower pressures than their current estimated equilibrium pressures (>4 GPa).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4325-4345
Number of pages21
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2002 Dec 15


Dive into the research topics of 'Geochemistry of xenolithic eclogites from West Africa, part 2: Origins of the high MgO eclogites'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this