Geochemical Perspectives Letters is an internationally peer-reviewed journal of the European Association of Geochemistry,
produced by and for the geochemical community:
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Short (3000 words all inclusive)
Highest-quality articles spanning geochemical sciences

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Ureilite meteorites provide a new model of early planetesimal formation and destruction

Abstract:
Ureilite meteorites are ultramafic rocks derived from parts of the depleted silicate mantle of their parent planetesimal. We used Monte Carlo modelling to explain the observed array of oxygen isotopes and major element chemistry shown by bulk ureilites, after restoration of their missing core and silicate melt components. Despite using a wide range of primitive nebular material, our modelling shows that only a combination of proxy material resembling Allende-type FeO-rich and MgO-rich chondrules, can account for the ureilite oxygen isotope trend and the reconstructed ureilite major element chemistry. Our model predicts formation of a radial gradient in major elements and oxygen isotopes within the planetesimal, with a more Mg-rich silicate interior and a more Fe-rich silicate exterior. Temperatures recorded by ureilites were not high enough to form a magma ocean but were sufficiently high to form a metallic core and silicate melts. The ureilite parent planetesimal was then disrupted by impact. Re-accretion of the outer layers of more Fe-rich silicate material, at the expense of the more MgO-rich material and the core, explains the observed distribution of bulk rock and mineral compositions.

N. Rai, H. Downes, C. Smith

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2020) 14, 20–25 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.2018 | Published 8 July 2020

Article views: 1653

Microplastics contaminate the deepest part of the world’s ocean

Abstract:
Millions of metric tons of plastics are produced annually and transported from land to the oceans. Finding the fate of the plastic debris will help define the impacts of plastic pollution in the ocean. Here, we report the abundances of microplastic in the deepest part of the world’s ocean. We found that microplastic abundances in hadal bottom waters range from 2.06 to 13.51 pieces per litre, several times higher than those in open ocean subsurface water. Moreover, microplastic abundances in hadal sediments of the Mariana Trench vary from 200 to 2200 pieces per litre, distinctly higher than those in most deep sea sediments. These results suggest that manmade plastics have contaminated the most remote and deepest places on the planet. The hadal zone is likely one of the largest sinks for microplastic debris on Earth, with unknown but potentially damaging impacts on this fragile ecosystem.

X. Peng, M. Chen, S. Chen, S. Dasgupta, H. Xu, K. Ta, M. Du, J. Li, Z. Guo, S. Bai

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2018) 9, 1–5 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.1829 | Published 27 November 2018

Article views: 1343

The effect of warming climate on nutrient and solute export from the Greenland Ice Sheet

Abstract:
Glacial meltwater runoff is likely an important source of limiting nutrients for downstream primary producers. This has particular significance for regions surrounding the Greenland Ice Sheet, which discharges >400 km3 of meltwater annually. The Arctic is warming rapidly but the impact of higher discharge on nutrient export is unknown. We present four years of hydrological and geochemical data from a large Greenland Ice Sheet catchment that includes the two highest melt years on record (2010, 2012). Measurements reveal significant variation in dissolved solute (major ion) and estimated dissolved macronutrient (nitrogen, phosphorus and silica) fluxes, with increases in higher melt years. Labile particulate macronutrients dominate nutrient export, accounting for ~50 % of nitrogen and >80 % of both phosphorus and silica. The response of ice sheet nutrient export to enhanced melting is largely controlled by particle bound nutrients, the future supply of which is uncertain. We propose that the Greenland Ice Sheet provides an underappreciated and annually dynamic source of nutrients for the polar oceans, with changes in meltwater discharge likely to impact marine primary productivity in future decades.

J.R. Hawkings, J.L. Wadham, M. Tranter, E. Lawson, A. Sole, T. Cowton, A.J. Tedstone, I. Bartholomew, P. Nienow, D. Chandler, J. Telling

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2015) 1, 94–104 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.1510 | Published 23 June 2015

Article views: 1281

Apollo 15 green glass He-Ne-Ar signatures – In search for indigenous lunar noble gases

Abstract:
Identifying indigenous lunar noble gases in samples returned by the Apollo and Luna missions is highly challenging because contributions from the solar wind (SW) and/or cosmogenic nuclides have modified the noble gas signature of the regolith and rocks exposed to space at the lunar surface. Here we re-investigate the possible presence of indigenous noble gases in pyroclastic Apollo 15426 green glasses based on precise measurements of He-Ne-Ar isotopic compositions and abundances. The noble gas content of single glass beads varies by two orders of magnitude, indicating that they experienced highly variable irradiation histories as a result of intense regolith stirring by impact gardening. Four out of the twelve spherules stand out by having the highest He-Ne-Ar abundances and by releasing an isotopically 'solar-like' noble gas component at high temperatures. While a contribution from indigenous noble gases cannot be ruled out, the data are best accounted for by inward diffusion of, and equilibration with, SW-derived volatiles during prolonged space exposure.

E. Füri, L. Zimmermann, A.E. Saal

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2018) 8, 1–5 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.1819 | Published 7 September 2018

Article views: 1228

Tardi-magmatic precipitation of Martian Fe/Mg-rich clay minerals via igneous differentiation

Abstract:
Mars is seen as a basalt covered world that has been extensively altered through hydrothermal or near surface water-rock interactions. As a result, all the Fe/Mg-rich clay minerals detected from orbit so far have been interpreted as secondary, i.e. as products of aqueous alteration of pre-existing silicates by (sub)surface water. Based on the fine scale petrographic study of the evolved mesostasis of the Nakhla meteorite, we report here the presence of primary Fe/Mg-rich clay minerals that directly precipitated from a water-rich fluid exsolved from the Cl-rich parental melt of nakhlites during igneous differentiation. Such a tardi-magmatic precipitation of clay minerals requires much lower amounts of water compared to production via aqueous alteration. Although primary Fe/Mg-rich clay minerals are minor phases in Nakhla, the contribution of such a process to Martian clay formation may have been quite significant during the Noachian given that Noachian magmas were richer in H2O. In any case, the present discovery justifies a re-evaluation of the exact origin of the clay minerals detected on Mars so far, with potential consequences for our vision of the early magmatic and climatic histories of Mars.

J.-C. Viennet, S. Bernard, C. Le Guillou, V. Sautter, P. Schmitt-Kopplin, O. Beyssac, S. Pont, B. Zanda, R. Hewins, L. Remusat

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2020) 14, 47–52 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.2023 | Published 8 July 2020

Article views: 1108

Not so non-marine? Revisiting the Stoer Group and the Mesoproterozoic biosphere

Abstract:
The Poll a’Mhuilt Member of the Stoer Group (Torridonian Supergroup) in Scotland has been heralded as a rare window into the ecology of Mesoproterozoic terrestrial environments. Its unusually high molybdenum concentrations and large sulphur isotope fractionations have been used as evidence to suggest that lakes 1.2 billion years ago were better oxygenated and enriched in key nutrients relative to contemporaneous oceans, making them ideal habitats for the evolution of eukaryotes. Here we show with new Sr and Mo isotope data, supported by sedimentological evidence, that the depositional setting of this unit was likely connected to the ocean and that the elevated Mo and S contents can be explained by evapo-concentration of seawater. Thus, it remains unresolved if Mesoproterozoic lakes were important habitats for early eukaryotic life.

E.E. Stüeken, E.J. Bellefroid, A. Prave, D. Asael, N.J. Planavsky, T.W. Lyons

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2017) 3, 221–229 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.1725 | Published 13 June 2017

Article views: 1076

Lanthanum anomalies as fingerprints of methanotrophy

Abstract:
Methane is an important greenhouse gas whose emissions into the oceans and atmosphere are regulated by relatively unconstrained anaerobic and aerobic microbial processes. The aerobic pathway for methane oxidation is thought to be largely dependent upon the use of rare earth elements (REE), but to date the effects of this process on their abundances in bacteria or in organisms living in symbiosis with methanotrophs remain to be evaluated. Here we show that deep sea chemosynthetic mussels prospering at methane seeps display distinctive lanthanum enrichments linked to the enzymatic activities of their symbionts. These results demonstrate that methanotrophy is able to fractionate efficiently REE distributions in organisms and possibly in the environment. Lanthanum anomalies recorded in ancient sediments are potential chemical fossils that could be used in the geological record for tracking early evidence of microbial life.

X. Wang, J.-A. Barrat, G. Bayon, L. Chauvaud, D. Feng

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2020) 14, 26–30 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.2019 | Published 2 July 2020

Article views: 961

Past endolithic life in metamorphic ocean crust

Abstract:
The known deep subsurface biosphere on Earth persists in diversified habitats, including deep within igneous rocks of the oceanic crust. Here, we extend the range of the deep subsurface biosphere to metamorphic ocean crust of a subduction zone. We report fossilised life in zeolite facies rocks, which formed by low grade metamorphism, from the southern Mariana trench. Dense carbonaceous spheroids, filaments, and Frutexites-like structures are preserved in these rocks, which are enriched in organic carbon but depleted in 13C. The distinct difference in the GDGT-0 vs. crenarchaeol and the branched vs. isoprenoid tetraether values between the inner and outer portions of these rocks indicate the in situ production of organic carbon. We demonstrate that these structures may result from the past activity of potential chemolithoautotrophs within the metamorphic crust, as implied by their morphologies, Raman spectra, carbon isotopes, and biomarker signatures, as well as the Fe oxidation state within whole rocks. We propose that fluid-rock reactions at temperatures within the tolerance of life during low grade metamorphism contributed to microbial subsistence within the biotope. The low grade metamorphic ocean crust of the subduction zone likely represents Earth’s deepest, and one of its largest, microbial ecosystems, which may potentially influence the deep carbon cycle.

X. Peng, Z. Guo, M. Du, A.D. Czaja, D. Papineau, S. Chen, H. Xu, J. Li, K. Ta, S. Bai, S. Dasgupta

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2020) 14, 14–19 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.2017 | Published 26 June 2020

Article views: 910

182W evidence for core-mantle interaction in the source of mantle plumes

Abstract:
Tungsten isotopes are the ideal tracers of core-mantle chemical interaction. Given that W is moderately siderophile, it preferentially partitioned into the Earth’s core during its segregation, leaving the mantle depleted in this element. In contrast, Hf is lithophile, and its short-lived radioactive isotope 182Hf decayed entirely to 182W in the mantle after metal-silicate segregation. Therefore, the 182W isotopic composition of the Earth’s mantle and its core are expected to differ by about 200 ppm. Here, we report new high precision W isotope data for mantle-derived rock samples from the Paleoarchean Pilbara Craton, and the Réunion Island and the Kerguelen Archipelago hotspots. Together with other available data, they reveal a temporal shift in the 182W isotopic composition of the mantle that is best explained by core-mantle chemical interaction. Core-mantle exchange might be facilitated by diffusive isotope exchange at the core-mantle boundary, or the exsolution of W-rich, Si-Mg-Fe oxides from the core into the mantle. Tungsten-182 isotope compositions of mantle-derived magmas are similar from 4.3 to 2.7 Ga and decrease afterwards. This change could be related to the onset of the crystallisation of the inner core or to the initiation of post-Archean deep slab subduction that more efficiently mixed the mantle.

H. Rizo, D. Andrault, N.R. Bennett, M. Humayun, A. Brandon, I. Vlastelic, B. Moine, A. Poirier, M.A. Bouhifd, D.T. Murphy

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2019) 11, 6–11 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.1917 | Published 20 June 2019

Article views: 838

Clumped isotope temperature calibration for calcite: Bridging theory and experimentation

Abstract:
Clumped isotopes (Δ47) analysis in carbonates is becoming widespread across the geochemical community as a geothermometer that also allows for the reconstruction of the precipitating fluid δ18O composition. While initial Δ47–temperature relationship discrepancies between laboratories have been considerably reduced over the past 10 years, theoretical temperature calibration and laboratory experimental efforts have still not converged to common ground. Moreover, a lack of high temperature anchor points has weakened its application to high temperature calcite formation. Here we present a temperature calibration for carbonate clumped isotopes between 5 and 726 °C, using synthetically precipitated and heated calcites, to extend the calcite Δ47–temperature calibration to higher temperatures. By showing a strong agreement between the empirical calibration proposed here, theoretical and all recently published T–calibrations made using a full carbonate referencing scheme, this study: (1) provides a calibration allowing more precise application in high temperature geological systems, (2) further supports the improvement of inter-laboratory comparison by using carbonate standards, (3) reconciles empirical temperature calibrations with theory.

J.J. Jautzy, M.M. Savard, R.S. Dhillon, S.M. Bernasconi, A. Smirnoff

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2020) 14, 36–41 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.2021 | Published 7 July 2020

Article views: 816

 Top 10 most viewed articles (cumulative count of HTML views and PDF downloads) for all time. Rankings are updated hourly.

Global climate stabilisation by chemical weathering during the Hirnantian glaciation

Abstract:
Chemical weathering of silicate rocks is a primary drawdown mechanism of atmospheric carbon dioxide. The processes that affect weathering are therefore central in controlling global climate. A temperature-controlled “weathering thermostat” has long been proposed in stabilising long-term climate, but without definitive evidence from the geologic record. Here we use lithium isotopes (δ7Li) to assess the impact of silicate weathering across a significant climate-cooling period, the end-Ordovician Hirnantian glaciation (~445 Ma). We find a positive δ7Li excursion, suggestive of a silicate weathering decline. Using a coupled lithium-carbon model, we show that initiation of the glaciation was likely caused by declining CO2 degassing, which triggered abrupt global cooling, and much lower weathering rates. This lower CO2 drawdown during the glaciation allowed climatic recovery and deglaciation. Combined, the data and model provide support from the geological record for the operation of the weathering thermostat.

P.A.E. Pogge von Strandmann, A. Desrochers, M.J. Murphy, A.J. Finlay, D. Selby, T.M. Lenton

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2017) 3, 230–237 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.1726 | Published 15 June 2017

Article views: 26099

Microplastics contaminate the deepest part of the world’s ocean

Abstract:
Millions of metric tons of plastics are produced annually and transported from land to the oceans. Finding the fate of the plastic debris will help define the impacts of plastic pollution in the ocean. Here, we report the abundances of microplastic in the deepest part of the world’s ocean. We found that microplastic abundances in hadal bottom waters range from 2.06 to 13.51 pieces per litre, several times higher than those in open ocean subsurface water. Moreover, microplastic abundances in hadal sediments of the Mariana Trench vary from 200 to 2200 pieces per litre, distinctly higher than those in most deep sea sediments. These results suggest that manmade plastics have contaminated the most remote and deepest places on the planet. The hadal zone is likely one of the largest sinks for microplastic debris on Earth, with unknown but potentially damaging impacts on this fragile ecosystem.

X. Peng, M. Chen, S. Chen, S. Dasgupta, H. Xu, K. Ta, M. Du, J. Li, Z. Guo, S. Bai

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2018) 9, 1–5 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.1829 | Published 27 November 2018

Article views: 24301

Copper isotope evidence for large-scale sulphide fractionation during Earth’s differentiation

Abstract:
The differentiation of Earth into a metallic core and silicate mantle left its signature on the chemical and isotopic composition of the bulk silicate Earth (BSE). This is seen in the depletion of siderophile (metal-loving) relative to lithophile (rock-loving) elements in Earth’s mantle as well as the silicon isotope offset between primitive meteorites (i.e. bulk Earth) and BSE, which is generally interpreted as a proof that Si is present in Earth’s core. Another putative light element in Earth’s core is sulphur; however, estimates of core S abundance vary significantly and, due to its volatile nature, no unequivocal S isotopic signature for core fractionation has thus far been detected. Here we present new high precision isotopic data for Cu, a chalcophile (sulphur-loving) element, which shows that Earth’s mantle is isotopically fractionated relative to bulk Earth. Results from high pressure equilibration experiments suggest that the sense of Cu isotopic fractionation between BSE and bulk Earth requires that a sulphide-rich liquid segregated from Earth’s mantle during differentiation, which likely entered the core. Such an early-stage removal of a sulphide-rich phase from the mantle presents a possible solution to the long-standing 1st terrestrial lead paradox.

P.S. Savage, F. Moynier, H. Chen, J. Siebert, J. Badro, I.S. Puchtel, G. Shofner

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2015) 1, 53–64 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.1506 | Published 4 June 2015

Article views: 20442

Oxygenation of the mid-Proterozoic atmosphere: clues from chromium isotopes in carbonates

Abstract:
Chromium (Cr) isotopes in marine sedimentary rocks can be used as a sensitive proxy for ancient atmospheric oxygen because Cr-isotope fractionation during terrestrial weathering only occurs when pO2 exceeds a threshold value. This is a useful system when applied to rocks of mid-Proterozoic age, where fundamental questions persist about atmospheric pO2 and its relationship to biological innovation. Whereas previous studies have focused on temporally limited iron-rich sedimentary rocks, we present new Cr-isotope data from a suite of mid-Proterozoic marine carbonate rocks. Application of the Cr-isotope proxy to carbonate rocks has the potential to greatly enhance the temporal resolution of Proterozoic palaeo-redox data. Here we report positive δ53Cr values in four carbonate successions, extending the mid-Proterozoic record of Cr-isotope fractionation – and thus pO2 above threshold values – back to ~1.1 Ga. These data suggest that pO2 sufficient for the origin of animals was transiently in place well before their Neoproterozoic appearance, although uncertainty in the pO2 threshold required for Cr-isotope fractionation precludes definitive biological interpretation. This study provides a proof of concept that the Cr-isotopic composition of carbonate rocks can provide important new constraints on the oxygen content of the ancient atmosphere.

G.J. Gilleaudeau, R. Frei, A.J. Kaufman, L.C. Kah, K. Azmy, J.K. Bartley, P. Chernyavskiy, A.H. Knoll

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2016) 2, 178–187 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.1618 | Published 24 May 2016

Article views: 18922

Release of subducted sedimentary nitrogen throughout Earth’s mantle

Abstract:
The dynamic process of subduction represents the principal means to introduce chemical heterogeneities into Earth's interior. In the case of nitrogen (N) - atmosphere's most abundant gas - biological-activity converts N2 into ammonium ions (NH4+), which are chemically-bound within seafloor sediments and altered oceanic crust that comprise the subducting slab. Although some subducted N re-emerges via arc-related volcanism (Sano et al., 1998), the majority likely bypasses sub-arc depths (150-200 km) and supplies the deeper mantle (Li et al., 2007; Mitchell et al., 2010; Johnson and Goldblatt, 2015; Bebout et al., 2016). However, the fate of subducted N remains enigmatic: is it incorporated by the shallow convecting mantle - the source of ridge volcanism, or is the deeper mantle - nominally associated with mantle plumes - its ultimate repository? Here, we present N-He-Ne-Ar isotope data for oceanic basalts from the Central Indian Ridge (CIR)-Réunion plume region to address this issue. All on-axis samples with depleted MORB mantle (DMM) affinities (3He/4He = 8 ± 1 RA; Graham, 2002) have low N-isotopes (mean δ15N = -2.1 ‰), whereas those with plume-like 3He/4He display higher values (mean δ15N = 1.3 ‰). We explain these data within the framework of a new mantle reference model to predict a time-integrated net N regassing flux to the mantle of ~3.4 × 1010 mol/yr, with the plume-source mantle representing the preferential destination by a factor of 2-3. The model has implications for the present-day imbalance between N subducted at trenches and N emitted via arc-related volcanism, the N-content of Earth's early atmosphere, as well as relationships between N2 and the noble gases in mantle reservoirs, including 3He/4He-δ15N relationships in plume-derived lavas.

P.H. Barry, D.R. Hilton

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2016) 2, 148–159 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.1615 | Published 3 May 2016

Article views: 18663

Rapid response of silicate weathering rates to climate change in the Himalaya

Abstract:
Chemical weathering of continental rocks plays a central role in regulating the carbon cycle and the Earth's climate (Walker et al., 1981; Berner et al., 1983), accounting for nearly half the consumption of atmospheric carbon dioxide globally (Beaulieu et al., 2012). However, the role of climate variability on chemical weathering is still strongly debated. Here we focus on the Himalayan range and use the lithium isotopic composition of clays in fluvial terraces to show a tight coupling between climate change and chemical weathering over the past 40 ka. Between 25 and 10 ka ago, weathering rates decrease despite temperature increase and monsoon intensification. This suggests that at this timescale, temperature plays a secondary role compared to runoff and physical erosion, which inhibit chemical weathering by accelerating sediment transport and act as fundamental controls in determining the feedback between chemical weathering and atmospheric carbon dioxide.

A. Dosseto, N. Vigier, R. Joannes-Boyau, I. Moffat, T. Singh, P. Srivastava

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2015) 1, 10–19 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.1502 | Published 20 February 2015

Article views: 16687

Molecular hydrogen in mantle minerals

Abstract:
Current models assume that hydrogen was delivered to Earth already in oxidised form as water or OH groups in minerals; similarly, it is generally believed that hydrogen is stored in the present mantle mostly as OH. Here we show by experiments at 2-7 GPa and 1100-1300 °C that, under reducing conditions, molecular hydrogen (H2) has an appreciable solubility in various upper mantle minerals. This observation suggests that during the accretion of the Earth, nebular H2 could have been delivered to the growing solid planet by direct dissolution in a magma ocean and subsequent incorporation in silicates. Moreover, the presence of dissolved molecular H2 in the minerals of the lower mantle could explain why magmas sourced in this region are rich in hydrogen, despite the fact that lower mantle minerals contain almost no OH groups.

X. Yang, H. Keppler, Y. Li

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2016) 2, 160–168 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.1616 | Published 18 March 2016

Article views: 16396

182W evidence for core-mantle interaction in the source of mantle plumes

Abstract:
Tungsten isotopes are the ideal tracers of core-mantle chemical interaction. Given that W is moderately siderophile, it preferentially partitioned into the Earth’s core during its segregation, leaving the mantle depleted in this element. In contrast, Hf is lithophile, and its short-lived radioactive isotope 182Hf decayed entirely to 182W in the mantle after metal-silicate segregation. Therefore, the 182W isotopic composition of the Earth’s mantle and its core are expected to differ by about 200 ppm. Here, we report new high precision W isotope data for mantle-derived rock samples from the Paleoarchean Pilbara Craton, and the Réunion Island and the Kerguelen Archipelago hotspots. Together with other available data, they reveal a temporal shift in the 182W isotopic composition of the mantle that is best explained by core-mantle chemical interaction. Core-mantle exchange might be facilitated by diffusive isotope exchange at the core-mantle boundary, or the exsolution of W-rich, Si-Mg-Fe oxides from the core into the mantle. Tungsten-182 isotope compositions of mantle-derived magmas are similar from 4.3 to 2.7 Ga and decrease afterwards. This change could be related to the onset of the crystallisation of the inner core or to the initiation of post-Archean deep slab subduction that more efficiently mixed the mantle.

H. Rizo, D. Andrault, N.R. Bennett, M. Humayun, A. Brandon, I. Vlastelic, B. Moine, A. Poirier, M.A. Bouhifd, D.T. Murphy

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2019) 11, 6–11 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.1917 | Published 20 June 2019

Article views: 15506

Environmental pressure from the 2014–15 eruption of Bárðarbunga volcano, Iceland

Abstract:
The effusive six months long 2014‒2015 Bárðarbunga eruption (31 August‒27 February) was the largest in Iceland for more than 200 years, producing 1.6 ± 0.3 km3 of lava. The total SO2 emission was 11.8 ± 5 Mt, more than the amount emitted from Europe in 2011. The ground level concentration of SO2 exceeded the 350 µg m3 hourly average health limit over much of Iceland for days to weeks. Anomalously high SO2 concentrations were also measured at several locations in Europe in September. The lowest pH of fresh snowmelt at the eruption site was 3.3, and 3.2 in precipitation 105 km away from the source. Elevated dissolved H2SO4, HCl, HF, and metal concentrations were measured in snow and precipitation. Environmental pressures from the eruption and impacts on populated areas were reduced by its remoteness, timing, and the weather. The anticipated primary environmental pressure is on the surface waters, soils, and vegetation of Iceland.

S.R. Gíslason, G. Stefánsdóttir, M.A. Pfeffer, S. Barsotti, Th. Jóhannsson, I. Galeczka, E. Bali, O. Sigmarsson, A. Stefánsson, N.S. Keller, Á. Sigurdsson, B. Bergsson, B. Galle, V.C. Jacobo, S. Arellano, A. Aiuppa, E.B. Jónasdóttir, E.S. Eiríksdóttir, S. Jakobsson, G.H. Guðfinnsson, S.A. Halldórsson, H. Gunnarsson, B. Haddadi, I. Jónsdóttir, Th. Thordarson, M. Riishuus, Th. Högnadóttir, T. Dürig, G.B.M. Pedersen, Á. Höskuldsson, M.T. Gudmundsson

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2015) 1, 84–93 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.1509 | Published 29 June 2015

Article views: 15582

Growth of upper plate lithosphere controls tempo of arc magmatism: Constraints from Al-diffusion kinetics and coupled Lu-Hf and Sm-Nd chronology

Abstract:
Most magmatism occurs at mid-ocean ridges, where plate divergence leads to decompression melting of the mantle, and at volcanic arcs, where subduction leads to volatile-assisted decompression melting in the hot mantle wedge. While plate spreading and subduction are continuous, arc magmatism, particularly in continental arcs, is characterised by >10-50 Myr intervals of enhanced magmatic activity followed by rapid decline (DeCelles et al., 2009). In some cases, such as the Andes, this pattern has recurred several times (Haschke et al., 2002). Abrupt changes in plate convergence rates and direction (Pilger, 1984) or repeated steepening and shallowing of subducting slabs (Kay and Coira, 2009) have been suggested as triggering flare-ups or terminating magmatism, but such scenarios may not be sufficiently general. Here, we examine the thermal history of deep crustal and lithospheric xenoliths from the Cretaceous Sierra Nevada batholith, California (USA). The deepest samples (~90 km), garnet-bearing spinel peridotites, show cooling-related exsolution of garnet from high-Al pyroxenes originally formed at >1275 °C. Modelling of pyroxene Al diffusion profiles requires rapid cooling from 1275 to 750 °C within ~10 Myr. Also suggesting deep-seated, rapid cooling is a garnet websterite from ~90 km depth with nearly identical Lu-Hf (92.6 ± 1.6 Ma) and Sm-Nd (88.8 ± 3.1 Ma) isochron ages to within error. Thermal modelling shows that this cooling history can be explained by impingement of the base of the Sierran lithosphere against a cold subducting slab at ~90 km depth, precluding cooling by shallowing subduction. Rather, the coincidence of the radiometric ages with the magmatic flare-up (120-80 Ma) suggests that the hot mantle wedge above the subducting slab may have been pinched out by magmatic (± tectonic) thickening of the upper plate, eventually terminating mantle melting. Magmatic flare-ups in continental arcs are thus self-limiting, which explains why continental arc magmatism occurs in narrow time intervals. Convective removal of the deep arc lithosphere can initiate another magmatic cycle.

E.J. Chin, C.-T.A. Lee, J. Blichert-Toft

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2015) 1, 20–32 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.1503 | Published 8 April 2015

Article views: 14673