In the Karoo large igneous province, the geochemical assessment of mantle source variability and structure is hampered by probable crustal contamination overprinting of compositionally diverse flood basalts. Mantle source characteristics have been defined only for exceptional, primitive rock types. Here I use a compiled dataset for over 800 samples to demonstrate that the abundance of Nb relative to Zr, Ti, and Y provides a useful geochemical tracer of mantle sources for variably contaminated rock types of the Karoo province. Variations in the relative abundance of Nb reveal emplacement of distinctive, Nb-undepleted and Nb-depleted magmas in the North Karoo and South Karoo sub-provinces, respectively, and clarify correlation between flood basalts and previously proposed mantle source components. Judging from plate tectonic reconstructions and the compositions of plausible mantle source components, the geochemical bilateral asymmetry in Karoo may reflect tapping of contrasting plume and upper mantle reservoirs in the two sub-provinces.
- 1171 Geotieteet