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Hydrogen isotopes in high 3He/4He submarine basalts: Primordial vs. recycled water and the veil of mantle enrichment

January 29, 2019

The hydrogen isotope value (δD) of water indigenous to the mantle is masked by the early degassing and recycling of surface water through Earth's history. High 3He/4He ratios in some ocean island basalts, however, provide a clear geochemical signature of deep, primordial mantle that has been isolated within the Earth's interior from melting, degassing, and convective mixing with the upper mantle. Hydrogen isotopes were measured in high 3He/4He submarine basalt glasses from the Southeast Indian Ridge (SEIR) at the Amsterdam–St. Paul (ASP) Plateau (δD = −51 to −90‰, 3He/4He = 7.6 to 14.1 RA) and in submarine glasses from Loihi seamount south of the island of Hawaii (δD = −70 to −90‰, 3He/4He = 22.5 to 27.8 RA). These results highlight two contrasting patterns of δD for high 3He/4He lavas: one trend toward high δD of approximately −50‰, and another converging at δD = −75‰. These same patterns are evident in a global compilation of previously reported δD and 3He/4He results. We suggest that the high δD values result from water recycled during subduction that is carried into the source region of mantle plumes at the core–mantle boundary where it is mixed with primordial mantle, resulting in high δD and moderately high 3He/4He. Conversely, lower δD values of −75‰, in basalts from Loihi seamount and also trace element depleted mid-ocean ridge basalts, imply a primordial Earth hydrogen isotopic value of −75‰ or lower. δD values down to −100‰ also occur in the most trace element-depleted mid-ocean ridge basalts, typically in association with 87Sr/86Sr ratios near 0.703. These lower δD values may be a result of multi-stage melting history of the upper mantle where minor D/H fractionation could be associated with hydrogen retention in nominally anhydrous residual minerals. Collectively, the predominance of δD around −75‰ in the majority of mid-ocean ridge basalts and in high 3He/4He Loihi basalts is consistent with an origin of water on Earth that was dominated by accretion of chondritic material.

Publication Year 2019
Title Hydrogen isotopes in high 3He/4He submarine basalts: Primordial vs. recycled water and the veil of mantle enrichment
DOI 10.1016/j.epsl.2018.12.012
Authors Matthew W. Loewen, David W. Graham, Ilya N. Bindeman, John E. Lupton, Michael O. Garcia
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Index ID 70201776
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Volcano Science Center