Proterozoic melting in the northern peridotite Massif, Zabargad Island: Os isotopic evidence

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The geodynamic history of the three Zabargad peridotite bodies is the key to their significance as samples of the upper mantle. Currently, there are two main hypotheses that differ greatly in their implications for the origin and age of the peridotite complex as a whole. In the first, the Zabargad peridotite bodies all represent young asthenospheric mantle that was juxtaposed with ancient crustal gneisses during the opening of the Red Sea. In the second, the complex may represent a single package of residual mantle and lower crust of Pan-African age that was uplifted during the Miocene. In order to distinguish between these two models, we have analysed five samples of Zabargad peridotite and two pyroxenites for Os isotopes. The 187Os/188Os results range from 0.1198 to 0.1320 and correlate with Al2O3, allowing an age inference for the northern body, based on the Os isotopic evolution curve for the bulk Earth, of 1.4 ± 0.3 Gyr. This is at least as old as the previously inferred Pan-African age and may be older, and agrees with previous suggestions that the northern and central peridotite bodies probably represent ancient continental lithospheric mantle, while the southern body represents recent asthenospheric mantle. Our results from both central and southern bodies are consistent with either crustal age hypothesis.

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Terra Nova

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