Abstract

Abyssal peridotites and mid-oceanic ridge basalts (MORBs) represent complementary residue-liquid products of melting and melt migration in the oceanic mantle. Because MORBs are mixtures of melts from different mantle depths, their isotopic signature does not directly describe the isotopic composition of the mantle source, but instead describes the local average composition of different parts of the mantle. In contrast, abyssal peridotites, the residues of fractional melting and melt-rock reaction, should shed more light on the distribution of isotopic heterogeneities. We analyzed Pb isotopic compositions in sulfide grains from the Southwest Indian Ridge and the Gakkel Ridge (Arctic Ocean) using the high-resolution Cameca 1280 ion microprobe. Sulfide Pb isotope ratios show very large variations, with 16 grains from 1 sample covering ∼25% of the entire range observed in the oceanic mantle. Pb isotopes in sulfides preserve a record of mantle compositions not seen in whole-rock MORBs from the same area. Sulfides from the Atlantis II Fracture Zone (Southwest Indian Ridge) confirm the presence of ancient refractory material scatter in the oceanic upper mantle. Gakkel Ridge sulfides define a high degree of isotopic variability, suggesting that oceanic mantle, not subcontinental lithospheric mantle, is the main source of such heterogeneity. Our results confirm that the source of MORBs, as represented by abyssal peridotites, is very heterogeneous and that other mantle end-member components are intimately mixed in. In-situ sulfide analysis is a powerful tool to detect the isotopic diversity of the MORB mantle source.

You do not currently have access to this article.