Mantle xenoliths in within-plate alkaline matic lavas from NE Spain are mainly anhydrous spinel lherzolites and harzburgites, grading into each other, and subordinate pyroxenites. Peridotites followed an earlier melt depletion caused by mantle decompression and subsequent metasomatism. Two main types of metasomatism are differentiated affecting mainly the harzburgites: a silicate-melt metasomatism of Fe-Ti type and a carbonatite metasomatism. Both types are recognized in the nearby Pyrenean peridotite massifs, but the presence of hydrous minerals is less frequent in the xenoliths. The two metasomatic styles could have been generated by the intrusion of Cretaceous alkaline magmas, if a chromatographic fractionation-reaction process at decreasing melt mass took place. This would account for the evolution of the original alkaline silicate percolating melt towards a carbonatite-rich melt, allowing the coexistence in both space and time of the two metasomatic styles. Metasomatism in lherzolites could be explained in the same way. The pyroxenite xenoliths are interpreted as cumulates from these alkaline basic magmas that crop out in the area as rare camptonite dykes. Interaction with host lavas is minor and could explain the partial melting, enrichment and disequilibrium observed in a deformed composite xenolith and sporadic veins tilled with glass. © The Geological Society of London 2008.