CO2 content beneath northern Iceland and the variability of mantle carbon

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Hauri, Erik H.
Maclennan, John
McKenzie, Dan
Gronvold, Karl
Oskarsson, Niels
Shimizu, Nobumichi
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Primitive basalt melt inclusions from Borgarhraun, northern Iceland, display large correlated variations in CO2 and nonvolatile incompatible trace elements (ITEs) such as Nb, Th, Rb, and Ba. The average CO2/ITE ratios of the Borgarhraun melt inclusion population are precisely determined (e.g., CO2/Nb = 391 ± 16; 2σM [two standard errors of the mean], n = 161). These data, along with published data on five other populations of undegassed mid-oceanic ridge basalt (MORB) glasses and melt inclusions, demonstrate that upper mantle CO2/Ba and CO2/Rb are nearly homogeneous, while CO2/Nb and CO2/Th are broadly correlated with long-term indices of mantle heterogeneity reflected in Nd isotopes (143Nd/144Nd) in five of the six regions of the upper mantle examined thus far. Our results suggest that heterogeneous carbon contents of the upper mantle are long-lived features, and that average carbon abundances of the mantle sources of Atlantic MORB are higher by a factor of two than those of Pacific MORB. This observation is correlated with a similar distinction in water contents and trace elements characteristic of subduction fluids (Ba, Rb). We suggest that the upper mantle beneath the younger Atlantic Ocean basin contains components of hydrated and carbonated subduction-modified mantle from prior episodes of Iapetus subduction that were entrained and mixed into the upper mantle during opening of the Atlantic Ocean basin.
© The Author(s), 2017. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Geology 46 (2018): 55-58, doi:10.1130/G39413.1.
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Geology 46 (2018): 55-58
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