Composition and Evolution of the Earth’s Mantle

Mallick S, Salters VJM, Langmuir CH. Geochemical variability along the northern East Pacific Rise: Coincident source composition and ridge segmentation. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems [Internet]. 2019. Publisher's VersionAbstract
New trace element abundances and isotope compositions for more than 100 mid‐ocean ridge basalts from 5.5°N to 19°N on the East Pacific Rise show step function variations in isotopic composition along the ridge axis that coincide with ridge discontinuities. Transform faults, overlapping spreading centers, and devals (deviation from axial linearity) mark the separation of individual clusters of distinct isotopic composition and trace element ratios that indicate source variations. This correlated chemical clustering and morphological segmentation indicates that source composition and segmentation can be closely related even on a fine scale. Substantial chemical variations within a segment are related to source composition. This suggests that even within segments the magma transport is mainly vertical, and there is limited along‐ridge transport, and there is little evidence for magma chambers that are well mixed along strike. Trace element concentrations show good correlations with isotopic compositions on a segment scale but less so on a regional scale. The trace element and isotopic variability along the northern East Pacific Rise can be explained by three mantle components: a depleted peridotite endmember, an enriched peridotite endmember, and a recycled gabbro‐like component. The gabbroic component has an isotopic signature indicating an ancient origin. The high‐resolution sampling indicates that within a segment the chemical variability is largely binary but that the endmembers of the binary mixing change from segment to segment. The endmembers of the binary variation within a segment are a combination of three of the endmembers.
An isotopically distinct Zealandia–Antarctic mantle domain in the Southern Ocean
Park SH, Langmuir CH, Sims KWW, Blichert-Toft J, Kim SS, Scott SR, Lin J, Choi H, Yang YS, Michael PJ. An isotopically distinct Zealandia–Antarctic mantle domain in the Southern Ocean. Nature Geoscience [Internet]. 2019;12 (3) :206-214. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Article | Published: 28 January 2019

An isotopically distinct Zealandia–Antarctic mantle domain in the Southern Ocean

Nature Geosciencevolume 12, pages206–214 (2019) | Download Citation


The mantle sources of mid-ocean ridge basalts beneath the Indian and Pacific oceans have distinct isotopic compositions with a long-accepted boundary at the Australian–Antarctic Discordance along the Southeast Indian Ridge. This boundary has been widely used to place constraints on large-scale patterns of mantle flow and composition in the Earth’s upper mantle. Sampling between the Indian and Pacific ridges, however, has been lacking, especially along the remote 2,000 km expanse of the Australian–Antarctic Ridge. Here we present Sr, Nd, Hf and Pb isotope data from this region that show the Australian–Antarctic Ridge has isotopic compositions distinct from both the Pacific and Indian mantle domains. These data define a separate Zealandia–Antarctic domain that appears to have formed in response to the deep mantle upwelling and ensuing volcanism that led to the break-up of Gondwana 90 million years ago, and currently persists at the margins of the Antarctic continent. The relatively shallow depths of the Australian–Antarctic Ridge may be the result of this deep mantle upwelling. Large offset transforms to the east may be the boundary with the Pacific domain.

Wu F, Qi Y, Perfit MR, Gao Y, Langmuir CH, Wanless VD, Yu H, Huang F. Vanadium isotope compositions of mid-ocean ridge lavas and altered oceanic crust. Earth and Planetary Science Letters [Internet]. 2018;493 :128-139. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Vanadium isotope compositions of igneous rocks have the potential to constrain variations of physico-chemical conditions such as oxidation states during magmatism. Here, we present V isotope data for 27 fresh lavas (ranging from basaltic to dacitic compositions) from mid-ocean ridges, 31 altered basalts and gabbros from IODP site 1256 near the East Pacific Rise (EPR), and 2 back arc basin basalts (BABB). Our analyses of fresh mid-ocean ridge basalt (MORB) provide new constraints on the V isotope composition of MORBs, i.e. ‰δ51V=−0.84±0.02‰ (2SE, n=22). In addition, the mean δ51V of MORBs from individual segments is correlated with the mean ridge depth and Na8.0 of the segment, which might reflect the effect of melting extent on V isotope fractionation during mantle melting.

The mafic profile of intact altered oceanic crust (AOC) from the IODP site 1256 has δ51V ranging from −1.01 to ‰−0.77‰, similar to that of fresh MORBs, suggesting that V isotope fractionation is limited during alteration of oceanic crust. These results also indicate the V isotopic homogeneity of the bulk oceanic crust with average δ51V of ‰−0.85±0.02‰ (2SE, n=53), which is unaffected by ocean water and hydrothermal fluid alteration. Our results provide a guideline for application of V isotopes into studies of low and high temperature geochemical processes.

The evolved lavas (basaltic andesites, andesites, and dacites) from the East Pacific Rise (EPR) show apparent shifts towards heavy δ51V values with increasing degree of differentiation, which can be explained by the crystal–liquid fractionation during crystallization with an inferred isotope fractionation factor of Δ51Vmineral-melt=−0.15×106/T2. The enrichment of 51V with increasing differentiation degree for the 9°N Overlapping Spreading Center (OSC) lavas is consistent with direction of the isotope shift observed in lavas from Anatahan Island (Northern Mariana Arc) and Hekla Volcano (Iceland), but the magnitude (0.3‰) is much smaller than that (2‰) reported in Prytulak et al. (2017). Modeling of V isotope fractionation between mineral and melt shows that variations in redox condition are important for controlling V isotope fractionation, but insufficient to explain the dramatically different Δ51Vmineral-melt between 9°N OSC lavas and Anatahan/Hekla suites. More studies are necessary for better understanding of mechanisms of V isotope fractionation during magmatism.