- © 2001 Cambridge University Press
The Arabian–Nubian Shield evolved through a sequence of tectonomagmatic cycles, which took place during Neoproterozoic time (1000–540 Ma). Dyke emplacement constitutes one of the conspicuous features of the Arabian–Nubian Shield, with mafic dykes being the most abundant. The investigated dykes represent the youngest Neoproterozoic mafic dykes and have been dated in Jordan at 545 ± 13 Ma. Geochemically the studied dykes are mildly alkaline, are enriched in large ion lithophile elements (LILE) and high field strength cations (HFSC), show moderate enrichment of REE, and lack Nb anomaly. These features are consistent with a predominantly extensional continental tectonic setting. Crystallization temperatures of the suite fall between 1050 and 800 °C to as low as 650 °C as deduced from pyroxene thermometry. The investigated dykes were derived from a metasomatized lithospheric mantle by 5 % modal batch partial melting of phlogopite-bearing spinel lherzolite, according to geochemical modelling. The intra-suite geochemical features are explicable by 64 % fractional crystallization of olivine, pyroxene, plagioclase and titanomagnetite and possibly other accessories like apatite at a later stage. The cumulate produced from this fractionation of the investigated dyke suite contributed to the formation of the mafic lower crust of the Arabian–Nubian Shield. Elemental ratios and petrographic evidence indicate possible minor crustal contamination of the suite. The youngest mafic dykes show striking geochemical similarities to the same generation of dolerite dykes in the adjacent countries, to transitional young basalt suites of the Main East African Rift, and to Quaternary Jordanian basalts. The youngest mafic dyke suite, the rhyolites of the Aheimir suite, and St Katherina rhyolites of Sinai represent the last igneous activity in the Arabian–Nubian Shield before the onset of the Cambrian at about 545 Ma ago.