Resolving mantle components in oceanic lavas from segment E2 of the East Scotia back-arc ridge, South Sandwich Islands
D. Harrison, P. T. Leat, P. G. Burnard, G. Turner, S. Fretzdorff, I. L. Millar, 2003. "Resolving mantle components in oceanic lavas from segment E2 of the East Scotia back-arc ridge, South Sandwich Islands", Intra-Oceanic Subduction Systems: Tectonic and Magmatic Processes, R. D. Larter, P. T. Leat
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The East Scotia Ridge, situated in the South Atlantic, is the back-arc spreading centre to the intra-oceanic South Sandwich arc. Samples from the ridge show a wide diversity in erupted magma compositions. Segment E2, in the northern part of the ridge, has an axial topographic high, which contrasts with the rift-like topography common to most of the ridge. Lava compositions in the segment have been modelled by mixing of magmas derived from normal mid-ocean ridge basalt (N-MORB)-like mantle, a mantle plume component similar in composition to that sampled by Bouvet Island and mantle modified by addition of components from the subducting slab. The ‘Bouvet’-like plume signature has higher 87Sr/86Sr, 206Pb/204Pb, Nb/Yb, and lower 143Nd/144Nd and 4He/3He, than the local upper mantle. It can be traced geochemically from the Bouvet Island hot spot to segment E2, via the South American-Antarctic Ridge, which connects the Bouvet triple junction to the South Sandwich subduction system.
Four samples dredged from segment E2 have 4He/3He ratios of 85 000–90 200 (8.5–8.0 R/RA, where) R/RA is the 4He/3He ratio normalized to air) and three wax core samples taken from the segment axis have values of 104 300, 101 560 and 176 620 (6.9, 7.1 and 4.1 R/RA). These latter data are similar to values from the South American-Antarctic Ridge which have no discernable plume input. Whilst the dredge samples have a measurably lower 4He/3He ratio than the South American-Antarctic Ridge and samples from the segment axis, these He isotope data contrast with a dominant plume signature recorded by other petrogenetic tracers. This is interpreted to be due to re-melting of an entrained plume component, with an inherent low He concentration, incorporated into the E2 mantle. Helium depletion from the plume component can be seen to be a consequence of mantle processing and does not imply shallow-level degassing prior to entrainment within the upper-mantle-melting zone. As a consequence, He is characterized in the back-arc by values more similar to the upper mantle, whereas lithophile tracers are more influenced by the plume component.
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Intra-Oceanic Subduction Systems: Tectonic and Magmatic Processes
Recycling of oceanic plate back into the Earth’s interior at subduction zones is one of the key processes in Earth evolution. Volcanic arcs, which form above subduction zones, are the most visible manifestations of plate tectonics, the convection mechanism by which the Earth loses excess heat They are probably also the main location where new continental crust is formed, the so-called ‘subduction factory’. About 40% modern subduction zones on Earth are intra-oceanic. These subduction systems are generally simpler than those at continental margins as they commonly have a shorter history of subduction and their magmas are not contaminated by ancient sialic crust. They are therefore the optimum locations for studies of mantle processes and magmatic addition to the crust in subduction zones.
This volume contains a collection of papers that exploit the relative simplicity of intra-oceanic subduction systems to provide insights into the tectonic, magmatic and hydrothermal processes associated with subduction.