Abstract

Asymmetrically zoned hotspot tracks in the Pacific Ocean are interpreted to have formed from zoned plumes originating from the large-scale, lower-mantle, low-seismic-velocity anomaly (superplume?) beneath the southern Pacific, providing direct information about lower-mantle compositional heterogeneity. New trace-element and Sr-Nd-Hf-Pb isotope data from the classic Tristan-Gough hotspot track in the South Atlantic also display a bilateral, asymmetric zonation with two distinct mantle source components, making it the first zoned plume to be recognized overlying the African superplume. The plume zonation can be traced for 70 m.y., four times longer than recognized for Pacific zoned hotspot tracks. These findings confirm that the proposed zonation of Pacific hotspots is not simply a geochemical oddity, but could be a major feature of plumes derived from lower-mantle superplumes. We propose that the enriched southern Gough subtrack source with elevated 207Pb/204Pb and 208Pb/204Pb at a given 206Pb/204Pb, but low 143Nd/144Nd and 176Hf/177Hf (DUPAL-like composition), may reflect the African superplume composition, whereas the more depleted northern Tristan subtrack source could represent a mixture of the superplume with the surrounding depleted mantle. Our results strengthen arguments that the enriched signature (DUPAL anomaly) in the South Atlantic could be derived from the lower mantle.

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