Estimates of the Temperature and Melting Conditions of the Carpathian-Pannonian Upper Mantle From Volcanism and Seismology

Antoine J.J. Bracco Gartner*, Dan McKenzie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


What drives the formation of basaltic melts beneath intraplate volcanoes not associated with extensive thermal anomalies or lithospheric extension? Detailed constraints on the melting conditions and source region are imperative to resolve this question. Here we model the geochemistry of alkali basalts and mantle nodules brought up by young (12–0.1 Ma) intraplate volcanoes distributed across the Carpathian-Pannonian region and combine the results with geophysical observations. Rare earth element inversion and forward calculation of elemental concentrations show that the basalts require the mantle to have undergone less than 1% melting in the garnet-spinel transition zone, at depths of about 63–72 km. The calculated melt distributions correspond to a mantle potential temperature of ∼1257°C, equivalent to a real temperature of 1290°C at 65 km beneath the Pannonian Basin. The composition, modal mineralogy, and clinopyroxene geochemistry of some of the entrained mantle nodules closely resemble the basalt source, though the latter equilibrated at greater depths. The gravity anomalies and topography of the Basin reveal no large-scale features that can account for the post-extensional volcanism. Instead, the lithospheric thickness and geotherm show that melting occurs because the base of the lithosphere, at ∼50-km depth, is close to or at the solidus temperature over a large part of the Basin. Hence, only a small amount of upwelling is required to produce minor volumes (up to a few cubic kilometers) of melt. We conclude that the Pannonian volcanism originates from upwelling in the asthenosphere just below thinned lithosphere, which is likely to be driven by thermal buoyancy.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2020GC009334
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Issue number10
Early online date16 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Carpathian-Pannonian region
  • intraplate volcanism
  • melt generation
  • rare-earth element inversion
  • mantle potential temperature
  • asthenospheric upwelling


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