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The influence of radiogenic 4He on cosmogenic 3He determinations in volcanic olivine and pyroxene

Blard, P.-H. and Farley, K. A. (2008) The influence of radiogenic 4He on cosmogenic 3He determinations in volcanic olivine and pyroxene. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 276 (1-2). pp. 20-29. ISSN 0012-821X.

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Accurate determination of cosmogenic 3He concentrations in olivine and pyroxene phenocrysts requires knowledge of the amount of magmatic 3He also in the sample. The magmatic 3He component is commonly estimated by measuring the magmatic 3He/4He ratio and assuming that all 4He is magmatic. However, this approach yields incorrect results if 4He produced by U and Th decay is also present. Here we propose several strategies to account for the presence of radiogenic 4He. The optimal approach depends on whether the helium closure age (Tc) is similar to the exposure age (Te) of the analyzed phenocrysts. (i) When Tc = Te, which applies to uneroded lava flows, the ratio of cosmogenic 3He to radiogenic 4He is constant and the correction for radiogenic helium is independent of time. We provide a simple expression for a correction factor (R) that can be applied in this case. (ii) In the more common case that Tc > Te, it is necessary to obtain an independent constraint on the closure age to estimate the radiogenic correction. In either case a quantitative estimate of the radiogenic 4He production rate is required. Because of the long stopping distance of α-particles, this production rate depends on the U and Th concentrations of both phenocryst and host, and also on phenocryst grain size. To illustrate the magnitude and uncertainty of the necessary corrections, we compiled U and Th measurements on phenocrysts and whole rock samples of basalts and andesites, supplemented by new measurements on Hawaiian basalts and Altiplano andesites. Our data and models suggest that some published cosmogenic 3He production rate determinations may have underestimated the true production rate by up to 5% because the presence of radiogenic 4He was not recognized. Similarly, a recent study presenting cosmogenic 3He derived erosion rates in > 4 Ma Hawaiian olivines probably overestimates true erosion rates by an order of magnitude or more.

Item Type:Article
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Farley, K. A.0000-0002-7846-7546
Additional Information:Copyright © 2008 Elsevier. Received 2 May 2008; revised 29 August 2008; accepted 2 September 2008. Available online 22 October 2008. Editor: R.W. Carlson. Constructive comments by Samuel Niedermann, Joe Licciardi and Rick Carlson helped to improve this article. We thank Joe Licciardi for providing unpublished mineral diameters used in his previous articles as well as L. Hedges for her valuable technical assistance in the Caltech lab. This work is part of the Caltech OK-Earl Post-Doctoral Fellowship of P.-H. Blard.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
O.K. Earl Postdoctoral Fellowship, CaltechUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:cosmogenic; magmatic; radiogenic; Helium-3; Helium-4; R-factor
Issue or Number:1-2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:BLAepsl08
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:12938
Deposited By: Archive Administrator
Deposited On:11 Jan 2009 04:44
Last Modified:03 Mar 2020 13:01

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