Crustal xenoliths from Cenozoic volcanic fields of West Germany: Implications for structure and composition of the continental crust

  • Mengel K
  • Sachs P
  • Stosch H
 et al. 
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Abstract

Crustal xenoliths in three Cenozoic volcanic fields of West Germany, the Northern Hessian Depression (NHD), the Eifel and the Urach/Hegau, include medium to high-grade meta sedimentary and felsic to mafic meta-igneous rocks. Also present in all three suites are pyroxenites and hornblendites. For each volcanic field, a model crustal profile is proposed based on calculated or measured P-wave velocities of xenoliths and depth-Vprelationships (EGT Central Segment and Rhenish Massif traverses). The xenolith lithologies from the NHD and the Eifel show some similarities. The middle crust between the depths of about 10 and 25 km consists mainly of meta-sediments, felsic gneisses and granulites. Meta-sedimentary rock types are particularly abundant in the Eifel at depths of between about 5 and 15 km but are less common within the NHD xenolith collection. The felsic gneisses range from meta-granites to meta-tonalites (I-and S-type). Eifel meta-sediments range from meta-pelites to meta-greywackes and meta-quartzites. The NHD xenolith suite contains a few highly depleted granulite-facies meta-sedimentary fragments. At depths between 24 and 26 km, the increase in Vpfrom about 6.8 to > 8 km s-1(28-34 km) is correlated with the presence of mafic granulites intercalated with eclogites, pyroxenites and hornblendites. Beneath North Hessia, the granulite layer problably grades into a composite eclogite-peridotite layer at the lower part of this transition zone. The crust beneath the Urach/Hegau consists largely of meta-sediments with subordinate felsic meta-igneous rocks. Most of the meta-sedimentary samples seem to be depleted in felsic components, suggesting intra-crustal differentiation by partial melting. The Urach crust contains lithologies which are similar to the outcropping Moldanubian-type para-gneisses of the Black Forest. Mafic and ultramafic xenoliths from the Urach/Hegau differ in their mineralogy and chemical composition from the Eifel and NHD mafic granulites. They represent meta-cumulates derived from alkaline magmas which intruded the base of the crust and underwent deformation and recrystallization. Petrographic and chemical differences between Urach/Hegau and Eifel/NHD are believed to reflect the contrasting styles of crustal evolution in the Rhenohercynian and the Moldanubian belts of the Variscan orogen. © 1991.

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Authors

  • K. Mengel

  • P. M. Sachs

  • H. G. Stosch

  • G. Wörner

  • G. Loock

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