Composition of the lower crust of the Arabian Plate: A xenolith perspective

Ali T. Al-Mishwat*, Sobhi J. Nasir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


Petrological and geochemical data for a suite of mafic granulite xenoliths in Cenozoic alkali basalts from Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria provide a unique opportunity to explore the composition and nature of the lower crust beneath the Arabian Plate. Two mineralogically and chemically distinct groups of xenoliths occur. Group I is composed of two pyroxenes and plagioclase approximately in equal amounts. Group II is plagioclase rich and has variable proportions of orthopyroxene and clinopyroxene. The xenolith mineral assemblages and geothermobarometry of coexisting minerals suggest that these xenoliths represent basaltic cumulates that crystallized under high-pressure conditions in the lower crust. The xenoliths possibly form a part of a lower crustal gabbroic intrusive complex that underlies the Arabian Plate and may represent mafic roots of an arc complex of Pan-African age beneath Arabia. The xenolith data are compatible with available geophysical models on crust thickness and layering. The crust is between 20 and 40 km thick, and its lower part consists of mafic meta-igneous granulites. The chemical averages of xenoliths from different parts of the Arabian Plate are more mafic than the estimated present-day average of model lower crust.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-72
Number of pages28
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Arabian Plate
  • Geochemistry
  • Geothermometry
  • Granulite
  • Lower crust
  • Xenoliths

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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