This study aims to define the origin of garnet clinopyroxenite layers from the mantle sequences of the External Ligurian ophiolites. These mantle sequences retain a subcontinental origin and were exposed at a Jurassic ocean–continent transition. The garnet clinopyroxenites are mafic rocks with Mg# values of 66–71. Their chondrite-normalised REE patterns are characterised by severe LREE depletion (CeN/SmN¼0.1–0.2) and nearly flat (Type-A pyroxenites) to moderately enriched HREE (Type-B pyroxenites). In addition, Type-A pyroxenites display a small positive Eu anomaly. The whole-rock REE variations are paralleled by the garnet REE compositions.We attribute the major and trace element characteristics of the garnet clinopyroxenites to recycling of gabbroic protoliths that underwent partial melting under eclogite facies conditions. The garnet clinopyroxenites may represent variably evolved garnetþclinopyroxene cumulates formed by eclogite-derived melts. In an alternative hypothesis, Type- A and -B pyroxenites are residual rocks after eclogite melting and cumulates derived from the eclogite melts, respectively. The high pressure fractionation event that gave rise to the garnet clinopyroxenites is considered of Triassic age on the basis of Sm–Nd and Lu–Hf isotope correlations. The Nd–Hf isotopic compositions of the garnet clinopyroxenites in the Triassic (eNd¼þ4.7 to þ7.6, eHf¼þ4.4 to þ12.8) lie below the mantle array, in agreement with recycled ancient MOR-type material. The oxygen isotopic composition of garnet and clinopyroxene from the garnet clinopyroxenites (d18O¼þ4.9% to þ5.2%) may be reconciled with subduction-related recycling of the lowermost oceanic crust, or delamination and foundering of underplated gabbros from the continental lithosphere. The potential involvement of the garnet clinopyroxenites in the melting processes that gave rise to the MOR-type oceanic crust in the Jurassic would account for the moderate Nd isotope variability and the garnet geochemical signature of the ophiolitic basalts.
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