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Rapid cycling of subducted sediments into the Samoan mantle plume

Farley, K. A. (1995) Rapid cycling of subducted sediments into the Samoan mantle plume. Geology, 23 (6). pp. 531-534. ISSN 0091-7613. doi:10.1130/0091-7613(1995)023<0531:RCOSSI>2.3.CO;2.

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Harzburgite xenoliths from the Samoan hotspot carry extraordinarily enriched Sr-Nd-Pb isotopic ratios previously attributed to metasomatism by a carbonatitic fluid derived from recycled sediments. I describe here the gas composition and microthermometric properties of fluid inclusions that have trapped this unusual agent. The inclusions are dominantly pure CO_2 and were apparently formed at the base of the crust. They have high ^3He/^4He ratios (12 times the atmospheric ratio), inconsistent with the radiogenic values expected for recycled sediments. Furthermore, inclusion C/^3He ratios of ∼3 × 10^9 are indistinguishable from typical mantle values and are far lower than those in sediments (>10^(11)). These striking observations imply that little of the helium and carbon in the metasomatic fluid was derived from the recycled source required by the Sr-Nd-Pb isotopes. The metasomatic fluid is probably a product of mixing within the Samoan hot spot of a volatile-rich high ^3He/^4He plume melt and recycled sediments. The retention of high ^3He/^3He ratios in such a mixture requires very rapid cycling of the sedimentary component through the mantle (probably <10^7 yr), rather than the billions of years often envisaged. This time scale indicates involvement of material recently returned to the mantle at the nearby Tonga Trench, and pelagic sediments near the trench have approximately the requisite geochemical signature. The unique isotopic characteristics of the Samoan plume likely arise from its unusual tectonic setting at the northern terminus of subduction in the Tonga Trench.

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Farley, K. A.0000-0002-7846-7546
Additional Information:© 1995 Geological Society of America. Manuscript received October 28, 1994. Revised manuscript received February 9, 1995. Manuscript accepted February 27, 1995. Supported by National Science Foundation grants EAR-93-04267 and EAR-92-04822. I thank J. Natland, R. Poreda, E. Stolper, G. Rossman, and J. Eiler for various contributions to this effort. The manuscript benefited from reviews by W. M. White and A. Cohen.
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Issue or Number:6
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20121114-074259719
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:35446
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:14 Nov 2012 22:41
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:15

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