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The importance of water to oceanic mantle melting regimes

Asimow, Paul D. and Langmuir, C. H. (2003) The importance of water to oceanic mantle melting regimes. Nature, 421 (6925). pp. 815-820. ISSN 0028-0836.

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The formation of basaltic crust at mid-ocean ridges and ocean islands provides a window into the compositional and thermal state of the Earth's upper mantle. But the interpretation of geochemical and crustal-thickness data in terms of magma source parameters depends on our understanding of the melting, melt-extraction and differentiation processes that intervene between the magma source and the crust. Much of the quantitative theory developed to model these processes has neglected the role of water in the mantle and in magma, despite the observed presence of water in ocean-floor basalts. Here we extend two quantitative models of ridge melting, mixing and fractionation to show that the addition of water can cause an increase in total melt production and crustal thickness while causing a decrease in mean extent of melting. This may help to resolve several enigmatic observations in the major- and trace-element chemistry of both normal and hotspot-affected ridge basalts.

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Asimow, Paul D.0000-0001-6025-8925
Additional Information:© 2003 Nature Publishing Group. Received 20 November 2002; accepted 14 January 2003. We thank P. Michael for comments and suggestions. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation. Competing interests statement: The authors declare that they have no competing financial interests.
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:33713
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:30 Aug 2012 20:48
Last Modified:25 Mar 2015 20:55

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