Distribution of recycled crust within the upper mantle : insights from the oxygen isotope composition of MORB from the Australian-Antarctic Discordance
Cooper, Kari M.
Eiler, John M.
Sims, Kenneth W. W.
Langmuir, Charles H.
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Geochemical heterogeneity within the mantle has long been recognized through the diversity of trace element and radiogenic isotopic compositions of mantle-derived rocks, yet the specific origin, abundance, and distribution of enriched material within the mantle have been difficult to quantify. In particular, the origin of the distinctive geochemical characteristics of Indian mantle has been debated for decades. We present new laser fluorination oxygen isotope measurements of mid-ocean ridge basalt from the Australian-Antarctic Discordance (AAD), an area where a particularly abrupt transition occurs between Pacific-type mid-ocean ridge basalts (MORB) and Atlantic-type MORB. These data show no distinction in average δ18O between Pacific- and Atlantic-type MORB, indicating that the origin of Indian-type mantle cannot be attributed to the presence of pelagic sediment. The combined radiogenic isotope, δ18O, and trace element characteristics of Indian-type MORB at the AAD are consistent with contamination of the Indian upper mantle by lower crustal material. We also present a compilation of available laser fluorination δ18O data for MORB and use these data to evaluate the nature and percentage of enriched material within the upper mantle globally. Data for each ocean basin fit a normal distribution, with indistinguishable means and standard deviations, implying that the variation in δ18O of MORB reflects a stochastic process that operates similarly across all ocean basins. Monte Carlo simulations show that the mean and standard deviation of the MORB data are robust indicators of the mean and standard deviation of the parent distribution of data. Further, although some skewness in the data cannot be ruled out, Monte Carlo results are most consistent with a normal parent distribution. This similarity in characteristics of the δ18O data between ocean basins, together with correlations of δ18O with radiogenic isotope and trace element characteristics of subsets of the data, suggest that the upper mantle globally contains an average of ∼5–10% recycled crustal material and that the depleted mantle in the absence of this component would have δ18O of ∼5.25‰. The Monte Carlo simulations also suggest that additional oxygen isotope data may be used in the future to test the ability of geodynamical models to predict the physical distribution of enriched domains within the upper mantle.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2009. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems 10 (2009): Q12004, doi:10.1029/2009GC002728
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