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Carbon isotope systematics of a mantle "hotspot": a comparison of Loihi Seamount and MORB glasses

January 1, 1986

The carbon isotope geochemistry of glasses from Loihi Seamount has been compared with that of MORB glasses. Stepped heating shows two carbon components in both sample suites: (1) isotopically light carbon (avg. ??13C = -26.3???) released < 600??C, ascribed to surficial contamination, and (2) isotopically heavy carbon released > 600??C, regarded as indigenous. The high-temperature component in MORB samples varied from 52 to 169 ppm C, average ??13C = -6.6???, consistent with previous studies (overall MORD average ??13C = -6.4 ?? 0.9???), and new results for Indian Ocean glasses are similar to Atlantic and Pacific Ocean samples. Carbon release profiles produced by stepped heating may be typical of locality, but there are no significant differences in ??13C values between MORB samples from different areas. Lower yields (17-110 ppm C) correlated with depth in the Loihi samples suggest that they are partially degassed. This degassing has not affected ??13C values significantly (avg. -5.8???). Loihi tholeiites have higher ??13C (avg. -5.6???) than the alkali basalts (avg. -7.1???). Carbon abundances correlate well with He concentration data. Comparison of the ??13C values with trace element and He, Sr, Nd, and Pb isotope data from the literature suggests that the Loihi samples with highest ??13C have high 3He/4He and possibly the least depleted 143Nd/144Nd and 87Sr/86Sr. The carbon isotope data are consistent with previous models for Loihi involving several mantle sources, lithospheric contamination, and mixing. The slightly higher ??13C of Loihi tholeiites suggests that the undegassed "plume" component manifested by high 3He/4He values might have ??13C about 1??? higher than the MORB average. ?? 1986.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1986
Title Carbon isotope systematics of a mantle "hotspot": a comparison of Loihi Seamount and MORB glasses
Authors R.A. Exley, D.P. Mattey, D. A. Clague, C.T. Pillinger
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Series Number
Index ID 70015630
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization