Highly CO 2 -supersaturated melts in the Pannonian lithospheric mantle – A transient carbon reservoir? Journal Article uri icon

DCO ID 11121/2331-8387-2328-4457-CC

is Contribution to the DCO

  • YES

year of publication

  • 2017


  • Subduction of carbonated crust is widely believed to generate a flux of carbon into the base of the continental lithospheric mantle, which in turn is the likely source of widespread volcanic and non-volcanic CO2 degassing in active tectonic intracontinental settings such as rifts, continental margin arcs and back-arc domains. However, the magnitude of the carbon flux through the lithosphere and the budget of stored carbon held within the lithospheric reservoir are both poorly known. We provide new constraints on the CO2 budget of the lithospheric mantle below the Pannonian Basin (Central Europe) through the study of a suite of xenoliths from the Bakony-Balaton Highland Volcanic Field. Trails of secondary fluid inclusions, silicate melt inclusions, networks of melt veins, and melt pockets with large and abundant vesicles provide numerous lines of evidence that mantle metasomatism affected the lithosphere beneath this region. We obtain a quantitative estimate of the CO2 budget of the mantle below the Pannonian Basin using a combination of innovative analytical and modeling approaches: (1) synchrotron X-ray microtomography, (2) NanoSIMS, Raman spectroscopy and microthermometry, and (3) thermodynamic models (Rhyolite-MELTS). The three-dimensional volumes reconstructed from synchrotron X-ray microtomography allow us to quantify the proportions of all petrographic phases in the samples and to visualize their textural relationships. The concentration of CO2 in glass veins and pockets ranges from 0.27 to 0.96 wt.%, higher than in typical arc magmas (0–0.25 wt.% CO2), whereas the H2O concentration ranges from 0.54 to 4.25 wt.%, on the low end for estimated primitive arc magmas (1.9–6.3 wt.% H2O). Trapping pressures for vesicles were determined by comparing CO2 concentrations in glass to CO2 saturation as a function of pressure in silicate melts, suggesting pressures between 0.69 to 1.78 GPa. These values are generally higher than trapping pressures for fluid inclusions determined by Raman spectroscopy and microthermometry (0.1–1.1 GPa). The CO2/silicate melt mass ratios in the metasomatic agent that percolated through the lithospheric mantle below the Pannonian Basin are estimated to be between 9.0 and 25.4 wt.%, values consistent with metasomatism either by (1) silicate melts already supersaturated in CO2 before reaching lithospheric depths or (2) carbonatite melts that interacted with mantle peridotite to generate carbonated silicic melts. Taking the geodynamical context of the Pannonian Basin and our calculations of the CO2/silicate melt mass ratios in the metasomatic agent into account, we suggest that slab-derived melts initially containing up to 25 wt.% of CO2 migrated into the lithospheric mantle and exsolved CO2–rich fluid that became trapped in secondary fluid inclusions upon fracturing of the peridotite mineral matrix. We propose a first-order estimate of 2000 ppm as the minimal bulk CO2 concentration in the lithospheric mantle below the Pannonian Basin. This transient carbon reservoir is believed to be degassed through the Pannonian Basin due to volcanism and tectonic events, mostly focused along the lithospheric-scale regional Mid-Hungarian shear Zone.


  • 286-287