Major- and trace-element compositions of garnet and clinopyroxene, as well as 87Sr/86Sr in clinopyroxene and δ18O in garnet in eclogite and pyroxenite xenoliths from Orapa, at the western margin of the Zimbabwe craton (central Botswana), were investigated in order to trace their origin and evolution in the mantle lithosphere. Two groups of eclogites are distinguished with respect to 87Sr/86Sr: One with moderate ratios (0.7026–0.7046) and another with 87Sr/86Sr >0.7048 to 0.7091. In the former group, heavy δ18O attests to low-temperature alteration on the ocean floor, while 87Sr/86Sr correlates with indices of low-pressure igneous processes (Eu/Eu∗, Mg#, Sr/Y). This suggests relatively undisturbed long-term ingrowth of 87Sr at near-igneous Rb/Sr after metamorphism, despite the exposed craton margin setting. The high-87Sr/86Sr group has mainly mantle-like δ18O and is suggested to have interacted with a small-volume melt derived from an aged phlogopite-rich metasome.
The overlap of diamondiferous and graphite-bearing eclogites and pyroxenites over a pressure interval of ∼3.2 to 4.9 GPa is interpreted as reflecting a mantle parcel beneath Orapa that has moved out of the diamond stability field, due to a change in geotherm and/or decompression. Diamondiferous eclogites record lower median 87Sr/86Sr (0.7039) than graphite-bearing samples (0.7064) and carbon-free samples (0.7051), suggesting that interaction with the – possibly oxidising – metasome-derived melt caused carbon removal in some eclogites, while catalysing the conversion of diamond to graphite in others. This highlights the role of small-volume melts in modulating the lithospheric carbon cycle. Compared to diamondiferous eclogites, eclogitic inclusions in diamonds are restricted to high FeO and low SiO2, CaO and Na2O contents, they record higher equilibrium temperatures and garnets have mostly mantle-like O isotopic composition. We suggest that this signature was imparted by a sublithospheric melt with contributions from a clinopyroxene-rich source, possibly related to the ca. 2.0 Ga Bushveld event.