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Composition, textures, seismic and thermal anisotropies of xenoliths from a thin and hot lithospheric mantle (Summit Lake, southern Canadian Cordillera)

Abstract : Seismic tomography and high surface heat flow models indicate an anomalously thin and hot lithospheric mantle beneath the Canadian Cordillera. To understand the thermal and deformational history of the lithospheric mantle under these conditions, we performed a study of the microstructures, crystal preferred orientations (CPO), and seismic anisotropy of mantle xenoliths collected in the Summit Lake volcano in the southern Canadian Cordillera. The xenoliths vary in composition between spinel lherzolites, cpx-rich lherzolites, and wehrlites. All samples are coarse-grained and show clear evidence for annealing, but deformation microstructures are well-preserved in the spinel lherzolites. Olivine CPO is characterized by a strong point-maximum of [100] and by a girdle distribution of [010[ and [001] axes normal to it; CPO strength is variable, spinel-lherzolites have the strongest CPO. Some samples show a weak orthopyroxene CPO consistent with the olivine one. However most pyroxenes have random CPO, interstitial shapes and undeformed appearance, which suggest a secondary origin by reactive melt percolation under static conditions, leading to crystallization of cpx + sp +/- opx at the expenses of olivine, followed by crystallization of cpx + sp +/- ol at the expenses of opx to produce the wehrlites. The studied xenoliths have typical upper mantle seismic properties patterns with fastest propagation of P-waves and polarization of S-waves parallel to the olivine [100] maxima. Maximum P- and S-waves anisotropy for lherzolites are 8 and 5% respectively. Dispersion of the olivine CPO due to neocrystallization of olivine results in weaker anisotropies (6.5 and 3.5%) in wehrlites. Seismic velocities calculated using a geotherm consistent with the equilibrium temperatures of the Summit Lake xenoliths are 3-4% lower than those expected in a normal, 100 km-thick lithosphere, consistent with seismic tomography models for the region. This high geothermal gradient may be partially explained by considering the anisotropy of thermal conductivity of olivine and subhorizontal foliations in the lithospheric mantle, which result in a decrease by up to 15% of the thermal conductivity in the vertical direction.
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Luis Morales, Andrea Tommasi. Composition, textures, seismic and thermal anisotropies of xenoliths from a thin and hot lithospheric mantle (Summit Lake, southern Canadian Cordillera). Tectonophysics, Elsevier, 2011, 507 (1-4), pp.1-15. ⟨10.1016/j.tecto.2011.04.014⟩. ⟨hal-00618332⟩



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