• Surprises from the top of the mantle transition zone

      Rollinson, Hugh; University of Derby; University of Derby; Kedleston Road Derby DE22 1GB UK (Wiley Blackwell, 2016-03-07)
      Recent studies of chromite deposits from the mantle section of ophiolites have revealed a most unusual collection of minerals present as inclusions within the chromite. The initial discoveries were of diamonds from the Luobosa ophiolite in Tibet. Further work has shown that mantle chromitites from ophiolites in Tibet, the Russian Urals and Oman contain a range of crustal minerals including zircon, and a suite of highly reducing minerals including carbides, nitrides and metal alloys. Some of the minerals found represent very high pressure phases indicating that their likely minimum depth is close to the top of the mantle transition zone. These new results suggest that crustal materials may be subducted to mantle transition zone depths and subsequently exhumed during the initiation of new subduction zones—the most likely environment for the formation of their host ophiolites. The presence of highly reducing phases indicates that at mantle transition zone depths the Earth’s mantle is ‘super’-reducing.