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Basalt Petrogenesis Beneath Slow and Ultraslow-Spreading Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridges

Lynne Elkins, Ph.D., 2009
Kenneth Sims, Advisor

To explore the melting of mafic lithologies to produce OIB, experiments were carried out measuring clinopyroxene-melt and garnet-melt partitioning during silica-poor garnet pyroxenite melting for U and Th at 2.5GPa and 1420-1450°C. Calculations using the resulting partition coefficients (clinopyroxene: 0.0083±0.0006−0.020±0.002 (Th) and 0.0094±0.0006−0.024±0.002 (U); garnet: 0.0032±0.0004 (Th) and 0.013±0.002 (U)) to model time-dependent uranium-series isotopes do not support the presence of pyroxenite in the source of OIB.

To examine mantle heterogeneity and the timing and nature of melt processes, U-Th-Pa-Ra disequilibria, radiogenic isotopes, and trace-element compositions were measured for the slow-spreading Arctic MOR. At the Kolbeinsey Ridge (67°05’-70°26’N), unaltered MORB have universally high (230Th/238U) (1.165-1.296) and relatively uniform (230Th/232Th) (1.196-1.324), eNd (8.43-10.49), 87Sr/86Sr (0.70274-0.70301), eHf (16.59-19.56), and Pb isotopes (e.g. 208Pb/206Pb = 2.043-2.095). This suggests a homogeneous source and long peridotite melting column produce the thick Kolbeinsey crust. Trace element ratios suggest a young, depleted source. Data from the slow- to ultraslow Mohns and Knipovich Ridges form a sloped array, and (230Th/232Th) correlates with radiogenic isotopes, which suggests heterogeneous mantle melting. MORB from 85ºE on the ultraslow Gakkel Ridge are homogeneously depleted, with low (230Th/238U) and high (226Ra/230Th). Arctic data support a global mantle temperature control on mean (230Th/238U).