Iron isotope compositions of subduction-derived rocks: Insights from eclogites and metasediments of the Münchberg Massif (Germany)

Pohlner, Johannes E.; El Korh, Afifé; Chiaradia, Massimo; Klemd, Reiner; Grobéty, Bernard; Pettke, Thomas (2022). Iron isotope compositions of subduction-derived rocks: Insights from eclogites and metasediments of the Münchberg Massif (Germany). Chemical geology, 602, p. 120899. Elsevier 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2022.120899

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The Fe isotope systematics of subducted lithologies are crucial for the understanding of redox-dependent mass
transfer in subducting slabs, with consequences for the compositions of arc magmas and of the deep mantle. We
investigated eclogites, metagabbros, and paragneisses from the Variscan Münchberg Massif to unravel whether
their Fe isotope compositions are dominated by the igneous/sedimentary protolith signature, by low-temperature
seawater alteration, or by later fluid-rock interactions during the subduction-exhumation cycle. Although the
eclogites are thought to be derived from a continental rather than oceanic setting (possibly a rift-drift transition
stage), they have mid-ocean ridge basalt (MORB)-like major and trace element compositions. They are often
moderately oxidized compared to MORB (Fe3+/ΣFe = 0.06 to 0.30). Their δ56Fe values (+0.00 to +0.17‰;
mean + 0.08 ± 0.01‰) mostly resemble those of MORB (+0.07 to +0.17‰). The metagabbros, which are
derived from a more enriched mantle source than the eclogites, yielded heavier δ56Fe values (+0.09 to +0.22‰)
similar to ocean island basalts, whereas those of the paragneisses (+0.03 to +0.10‰) are typical for pelitic
It appears that the Fe isotope compositions of the igneous protoliths are largely preserved and little if any Fe
was mobilized during the diverse fluid-rock interaction stages. The parental magma of the eclogites was probably
somewhat isotopically lighter than similarly differentiated MORB magmas, perhaps due to the presence of
metasomatized, isotopically light peridotites in the subcontinental lithospheric mantle (SCLM) source. Although
it is possible that δ56Fe values were slightly modified during seawater alteration and/or metamorphic fluid-rock
interactions in some of the eclogites, the impact of fluid-rock interactions on the major element compositions of
the eclogites appears to be small. Furthermore, the scarcity of metamorphic veins in the Münchberg Massif argues
against significant Fe mobilization in the slab. We suggest that continental eclogites tend to retain their
magmatic δ56Fe values throughout the subduction-exhumation cycle, whereas δ56Fe values of oceanic eclogites
may often be dominated by seafloor alteration with potential local modifications in the slab close to fluid
channels. The remarkable robustness of the Fe isotope compositions of continental eclogites suggests that they
may be used to reconstruct protolith mantle source properties despite the complex post-magmatic history.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Pettke, Thomas


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology






[4] Swiss National Science Foundation




Thomas Pettke

Date Deposited:

09 Jun 2022 15:37

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 16:20

Publisher DOI:





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