Symplectite in spinel lherzolite xenoliths from the Little Hungarian Plain, Western Hungary: A key for understanding the complex history of the upper mantle of the Pannonian Basin

György Falus, Csaba Szabó, István Kovács, Zoltán Zajacz, Werner Halter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)


Two spinel lherzolite xenoliths from Hungary that contain pyroxene-spinel symplectites have been studied using EPMA, Laser ablation ICP-MS and universal stage. Based on their geochemical and structural characteristics, the xenoliths represent two different domains of the shallow subcontinental lithospheric mantle beneath the Pannonian Basin. The occurrence of symplectites is attributed to the former presence and subsequent breakdown of garnets due to significant pressure decrease related to lithospheric thinning. This implies that both mantle domains were once part of the garnet lherzolitic upper mantle and had a similar history during the major extension that formed the Pannonian Basin. Garnet breakdown resulted in distinct geochemical characteristics in the adjacent clinopyroxene crystals in both xenoliths. This is manifested by enrichment in HREE, Y, Zr and Hf towards the clinopyroxene porphyroclast rims and also in the neoblasts with respect to porphyroclast core compositions. This geochemical feature, together with the development and preservation of the texturally very sensitive symplectites, enables us to determine the relative timing of mantle processes. Our results indicate that garnets had been metastable in the spinel lherzolite environment and their breakdown to pyroxene and spinel is one of the latest processes that took place within the upper mantle before the xenoliths were brought to the surface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-247
Number of pages18
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2007



  • Garnet breakdown
  • Lherzolite
  • Pannonian Basin
  • Symplectite
  • Xenolith

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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