Triple oxygen isotope (δ17O and δ18O) values of high- and low-temperature altered oceanic crust and products of basalt alteration experiments were measured to better constrain ocean isotope compositions in deep time. The data define an array of δ18O and Δ′17O (Δ′17O=δ′17O − λRL × δ′18O + γ) values from mantle values toward 1‰ and −0.01‰, respectively, with a λ of ~0.523. The altered oceanic crust data were used to construct a model for estimating δ18O-Δ′17O values of the ancient oceans if the continental weathering flux (FCW) and/or hydrothermal oceanic crust alteration flux (FHT) changed through time. A maximum lowering of 7‰ and 4‰, respectively, is achieved in the most extreme cases. The δ18O value of the ocean cannot be raised by more than 1.1‰. Eclogites from the Roberts Victor kimberlite (South Africa), with a protolith age of 3.1 Ga, have δ18O-Δ′17O values that precisely overlap with those of the modern altered oceanic crust, suggesting that the Archean oceans had similar isotope values as today. Published triple isotope data for Archean cherts show that all samples have been altered to some degree and suggest an Archean ocean surface temperature of ~70–100 °C. An ocean as light as −2‰ is still consistent with our eclogite data and reduce our temperature estimates by 10 °C.

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