Helium and lead isotope geochemistry of oceanic volcanic rocks from the East Pacific and South Atlantic
Author(s)Graham, David W. (David William)
Oceanic volcanic rocks from the East Pacific and South Atlantic, Helium and lead isotope geochemistry of.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
William J. Jenkins.
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The isotopic evolution of helium and lead in the Earth is coupled by virtue of their common radioactive parents uranium and thorium. The isotopic signatures in oceanic volcanic rocks provide constraints on the temporal evolution of mantle source regions and volcanic magmas. He and Pb isotopes were measured in glassy basalts from young seamounts in the East Pacific, and in phenocrysts and corresponding whole rocks, respectively, from the island of St. Helena. He isotopes were also measured in glassy mid-ocean ridge basalts from the South Atlantic, previously studied for Pb isotopes by Hanan et al. (1986). A precise reconstruction of He-Pb isotope relationships in volcanic source regions is complicated by post-eruptive radiogenic ingrowth of ⁴He in non-zero age basalts, by pre-eruptive radiogenic ingrowth of ⁴He in magmas with elevated (U+Th)/He, by multi-stage fractionation processes involving (U+Th)/He, U/Pb and Th/Pb and by convective mixing in the Earth's interior. Aspects of each of these problems are addressed. (U+Th)/He ages are estimated from the isotope disequilibrium of ³He/ ⁴He between He trapped in vesicles and that dissolved in the glass phase of young alkali basalts at seamount 6 in the East Pacific. ³He/ ⁴He in the glass phase of these alkali basalts is subatmospheric, while in the vesicles it ranges between 1.2-2.5 RA (RA = atmospheric ratio). ³He/ ⁴He in vesicles (extracted by crushing in vacuo) allows a correction to be made in the dissolved phase He (by fusion of the remaining powder) for the inherited component in order to compute the radiogenic [He]. The method is applicable to rocks containing phases with different (U+Th)/He, and the results have implications for dating lavas in the age range of 0l to 106 years, and for reconstructing the temporal evolution of young volcanic systems.(cont.) Pb, Sr and Nd isotopic variability observed at a small seamount field between 9-14'N near the East Pacific Rise covers -80% of the variability for Pacific MORB, due to small-scale heterogeneity in the underlying mantle. Tholeiites at these seamounts have He, Pb, Sr and Nd isotope compositions which are indistinguishable from MORB. Associated alkali basalts show more radiogenic He, Pb and Sr signatures. The lower ³He/⁴Heof He trapped in vesicles of these alkali basalts (1.2-2.6 RA) iS associated with low helium concentrations (< 5x10-' ccSTP/g). Evolved alkali basalts have lower ³He/⁴He (1.2-1.8 RA) than primitive alkali basalts (2.4-2.6 RA), suggesting some degree of magmatic control on inherited ³He/ ⁴He in these alkalic lavas. Collectively, the isotopic results suggest that as the lithosphere ages, material transfer from the MORB source becomes less significant because smaller degrees of melting average the chemical characteristics of heterogeneous mantle volumes less efficiently than near the ridge. Icelandites erupted at Shimada Seamount, an isolated volcano on 20 m.y. old seafloor, have Pb, Sr and Nd isotopic compositions similar to post-erosional basalts at Samoa. ³He/⁴He at Shimada ranges between 3.9-4.8 RA and helium concentrations are too large for radiogenic contamination of magma to have lowered the ³He/⁴He appreciably. These results indicate the presence of an enriched mantle component previously unidentified beneath the East Pacific. Its low ³He/⁴He may be due to the melting of domains with high (U+Th)/He which formed during accretion of the oceanic lithosphere. Alternatively, it is an inherent characteristic of the source, which contains material recycled into the mantle at subduction zones.(cont.) The mid-ocean ridge between 12-46°S in the South Atlantic displays ³He/⁴He lower than typical MORB values. Local anomalies occur at the latitudes of off-axis islands to the east, apparently due to contamination of depleted mantle asthenosphere by hotspot materials (as previously shown for (La/Sm)N and Pb isotopes; Schilling et al., 1985; Hanan et al., 1986). He - Pb Isotopic relationships along the 12-22°S ridge segment suggest that St. Helena has ³He/4 He less than MORB. ³He/⁴He in two St. Helena rocks (extracted by in vacuo crushing of olivine and pyroxene) is 5.8 RA when the extracteTdHe contents are greater than IxI0 - 13 ccSTP/g, consistent with the He - Pb observations along the St. Helena ridge segment. ⁴He/ ³He and radiogenic Pb isotope ratios are linearly correlated for the South Atlantic ridge segment between 2-120S. Linear correlation of ⁴He/3 He - ²⁰⁶Pb/ ²⁰⁴Pb within an oceanic rock suite reflects the temporal evolution of ²⁰⁴Pb / ³He In the source. A linear correlation between volcanic suites derived from isotopically different sources (e.g., oceanic islands) may imply a coherent fractionation of (U+Th) from He and Pb during the evolutionary history of their respective mantle source regions.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Joint Program in Oceanography (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences; and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution), 1987.Supervised by William J. Jenkins. "September 1987."Includes bibliographical references (p. 241-250).
DepartmentJoint Program in Oceanography; Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Joint Program in Oceanography., Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences., Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.