Neon isotopic composition of the mantle constrained by single vesicle analyses
Kurz, Mark D.
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The origin of volatiles on Earth is still a matter of debate. Noble gases are an efficient geochemical tool to constrain Earth formation processes due to their inertness. Several studies have focused on the neon isotopic composition of the lower mantle because the 20Ne/22Ne ratio is thought to reflect that of Earth’s primordial components. Two models to explain the origin of light noble gases on Earth have been proposed: either solar wind implantation onto the Earth's solid precursors or dissolution into the mantle of a primordial atmosphere captured from solar nebula gas. In order to test these two models, we analyzed the noble gas compositions (helium, neon and argon) of two submarine oceanic island basalt glasses from Fernandina volcano (Galápagos archipelago), which have among the most primitive/unradiogenic terrestrial helium and neon isotopic compositions. Several sample pieces are studied both by step-crushing and by laser ablation analyses of single vesicles. Results of step-crushing are consistent with those of laser ablation analyses, but the latter results provide new insights into the origin of atmospheric contamination. The single-vesicle laser-ablation measurements overlap with the step crushing results, but have systematically higher 40Ar/36Ar, and 3He/36Ar, suggesting less atmospheric contamination using this method. The single vesicle data therefore suggest that atmospheric contamination is introduced by exposure to the modern atmosphere, after sample collection. 3He/4He values are about 23 times the atmospheric ratio (R/Ra) for the two Fernandina (Galápagos) samples, in agreement with previous studies. We obtain 20Ne/22Ne and 40Ar/36Ar isotopic ratios as high as 12.91 and 9400, respectively, for the mantle source of the Galápagos hotspot. The new data show that step-crushing and laser ablation analyses are complementary methods that should be used together to derive the noble gas ratios in uncontaminated samples. The results of neon compositions are consistent with previous hotspot studies and support the model of solar wind implantation associated with sputtering to explain helium and neon origins on Earth.
© The Author(s), 2016. This is the author's version of the work and is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters 449 (2016): 145-154, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2016.05.052.
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