The composition of mantle plumes and the deep Earth

Alan R. Hastie, J. Godfrey Fitton, Andrew C. Kerr, Iain Mcdonald, Antje Schwindrofska, Kaj Hoernle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
151 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Determining the composition and geochemical diversity of Earth's deep mantle and subsequent ascending mantle plumes is vital so that we can better understand how the Earth's primitive mantle reservoirs initially formed and how they have evolved over the last 4.6 billion years. Further data on the composition of mantle plumes, which generate voluminous eruptions on the planet's surface, are also essential to fully understand the evolution of the Earth's hydrosphere and atmosphere with links to surface environmental changes that may have led to mass extinction events. Here we present new major and trace element and Sr–Nd–Pb–Hf isotope data on basalts from Curacao, part of the Caribbean large igneous province. From these and literature data, we calculate combined major and trace element compositions for the mantle plumes that generated the Caribbean and Ontong Java large igneous provinces and use mass balance to determine the composition of the Earth's lower mantle. Incompatible element and isotope results indicate that mantle plumes have broadly distinctive depleted and enriched compositions that, in addition to the numerous mantle reservoirs already proposed in the literature, represent large planetary-scale geochemical heterogeneity in the Earth's deep mantle that are similar to non-chondritic Bulk Silicate Earth compositions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-25
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume444
Early online date1 Apr 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2016

Keywords

  • primary magma
  • mantle plume
  • Caribbean oceanic plateau
  • Ontong Java Plateau
  • non-chondritic Bulk Silicate Earth (BSE)
  • normalising factor

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