eCite Digital Repository

Oxidation state of iron in komatiitic melt inclusions indicates hot Archaean mantle


Berry, AJ and Danyushevsky, LV and O'Neill, H and Newville, M and Sutton, SR, Oxidation state of iron in komatiitic melt inclusions indicates hot Archaean mantle, Nature, 455, (7215) pp. 960-964. ISSN 0028-0836 (2008) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1038/nature07377


Komatiites are volcanic rocks mainly of Archaean age that formed by unusually high degrees of melting of mantle peridotite. Their origin is controversial and has been attributed to either anhydrous melting of anomalously hot mantle or hydrous melting at temperatures only modestly greater than those found today. Here we determine the original Fe3+/∑Fe ratio of 2.7-Gyr-old komatiitic magma from Belingwe, Zimbabwe, preserved as melt inclusions in olivine, to be 0.10 ± 0.02, using iron K-edge X-ray absorption near-edge structure spectroscopy. This value is consistent with near-anhydrous melting of a source with a similar oxidation state to the source of present-day mid-ocean-ridge basalt. Furthermore, this low Fe 3+/∑Fe value, together with a water content of only 0.2-0.3 wt% (ref. 7), excludes the possibility that the trapped melt contained significantly more water that was subsequently lost from the inclusions by reduction to H2 and diffusion. Loss of only 1.5 wt% water by this mechanism would have resulted in complete oxidation of iron (that is, the Fe3+/ ∑Fe ratio would be ∼1). There is also no petrographic evidence for the loss of molecular water. Our results support the identification of the Belingwe komatiite as a product of high mantle temperatures (∼1,700°C), rather than melting under hydrous conditions (3-5-wt% water), confirming the existence of anomalously hot mantle in the Archaean era. ©2008 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Geology
Research Field:Igneous and metamorphic petrology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences
UTAS Author:Danyushevsky, LV (Professor Leonid Danyushevsky)
ID Code:56671
Year Published:2008
Web of Science® Times Cited:150
Deposited By:Centre for Ore Deposit Research - CODES CoE
Deposited On:2009-05-19
Last Modified:2011-11-22

Repository Staff Only: item control page