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He-isotopic investigation of geothermal gases from the Tabar-Lihir-Tanga-Feni Arc and Rabaul, Papua New Guinea

Farley, K. A. and Patterson, Desmond and McInnes, Brent (1995) He-isotopic investigation of geothermal gases from the Tabar-Lihir-Tanga-Feni Arc and Rabaul, Papua New Guinea. In: Volatiles in the Earth and Solar System. AIP Conference Proceedings. No.341. American Institute of Physics , New York, pp. 81-90. ISBN 9781563964091.

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In order to investigate the behavior of slab-derived volatiles in the subduction environment, helium isotope ratios have been measured in geothermal gases from the Tabar-Lihir-TangaFeni (TLTF) chain in the Bismarck Archipelago of Papua New Guinea. As recorded by several geochemical tracers, these volcanos carry an exceptionally large slab-derived component, and therefore may provide new insights to the old question of volatiles in subduction zones. Geothermal gases from Lihir Island have homogeneous ^3He/^4He ratios of 7.18±0.07 times the atmospheric ratio (R_A), while those from Ambitle Island (Feni Group) have lower ratios of 6.61±0.13 R_A. These ^3He/^4He ratios are within the range defined by more-typical arc volcanos, but lie at the low end of the spectrum observed in arc volcanos erupted through purely oceanic crust. Although a small slab-derived signature (^3He/^4He ratio lower than depleted mantle) exists in the TLTF gases, these data demonstrate that even in volcanos with a comparatively large slab component, He is overwhelmingly derived from the depleted mantle wedge. This observation further confirms the relative insensitivity of He isotopes to the presence of slab fluids. He isotope ratios of 6.25 R_A were measured in geothermal gases from the Rabaul Caldera on New Britain Island. Coincidentally, these samples were taken six months prior to the major 1994 eruption at Rabaul. In conjunction with samples taken from the same locality 8 years earlier, these data allow us to test whether increasing He isotope ratios associated with fresh ascending magmas precede volcanic eruptions. Although some of the 1986 samples had much lower ^3He/^4He ratios (5 R_A than observed in 1994, one did not. We thus find no strong evidence for a systematic rise in the He isotope ratio of the Rabaul fluids between 1986 and 1994. If a ^3He/^4He increase did precede the Rabaul eruption, then it occurred either prior to 1986 or sometime between our 1994 sampling and the eruption.

Item Type:Book Section
Farley, K. A.0000-0002-7846-7546
Additional Information:© 1995 American Institute of Physics. We wish to thank the Lihir Management Company and Father Tony Gendusa for providing invaluable assistance in collecting these samples. We also thank H. Craig for allowing us to cite his unpublished data from the Bismarck Archipelago. H. Hiyagon provided a helpful review. This work was supported by NSF OCE-9402159 to KAF.
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Series Name:AIP Conference Proceedings
Issue or Number:341
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20121114-103503801
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:35456
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:14 Nov 2012 22:57
Last Modified:02 Feb 2022 18:30

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