Chemical composition of crustal xenoliths from southwestern Syria: Characterization of the upper part of the lower crust beneath the Arabian plate

Abdulrahman Al-Safarjalani, Sobhi Nasir, Thomas Fockenberg, Hans Joachim Massonne

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The chemical bulk rock composition of 37 xenoliths, brought from depths of 25-30 km to the surface by penetrating Cenozoic alkali basaltic magma, from the Shamah Harrat, southwestern Syria, was determined by XRF spectroscopy. The geochemical character of these xenoliths points to original marls and within-plate igneous rocks. To obtain the mean chemical composition of the corresponding upper portion of the lower crust, the compositions of the 37 xenoliths were averaged and a leucogranitic and upper crustal component was added to account for assimilation by the Cenozoic magmas. This mean is more basic (SiO2-50.5 wt%) and richer in HFSE, LREE, and LILE compared to compositions of the lower crust given by Taylor and McLennan [1985. The Continental Crust: Its Composition and Evolution. Blackwell, Oxford, 312pp.] and Rudnick and Gao [2005. Composition of the continental crust. In: Rudnick, R.L. (Ed.), The Crust. Treatise on Geochemistry, vol. 3. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp. 1-64]. Calculations of the seismic compressional-wave velocity from our compositional mean, using the PERPLE_X computer software, yielded values around 6.85 km/s, which are in accordance with reported seismic studies for the corresponding depth levels (6.7-7.1 km/s).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-375
Number of pages17
JournalChemie der Erde - Geochemistry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009



  • Compressional-wave velocity
  • Lower crustal composition
  • SW Syria
  • Within-plate igneous rocks
  • Xenoliths

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics

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