Noble gases in submarine pillow basalt glasses from the Lau Basin: detection of a solar component in backarc basin basalts
Honda, M and Patterson, DB and McDougall, I and Falloon, TJ, Noble gases in submarine pillow basalt glasses from the Lau Basin: detection of a solar component in backarc basin basalts, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 120, (3-4) pp. 135-148. ISSN 0012-821X (1993) [Refereed Article]
Noble gas elemental and isotopic abundances have been analysed in eight samples of youthful basaltic glass dredged from three different locations within the Lau Backarc Basin: (1) the King's Triple Junction, (2) the Central Lau Spreading Centre at 18°S and (3) the Eastern Lau Spreading Centre at 19°S. Samples from the Lau central and eastern spreading centres have MORB-like helium isotopic ratios of approximately 1.2 × 10−5 (8.5 R/RA). In contrast, the samples from the King's Triple Junction yield helium isotopic ratios averaging 9.4 (±0.8) × 10−6 (6.7 ± 0.6 R/RA), systematically lower than the MORB-like value, which may be reflecting the addition of radiogenic 4He released from the descending slab. Neon isotopic ratios are enriched in 20Ne and 21Ne with respect to atmospheric ratios by as much as 23% and 62% respectively. These observations further confirm that non-atmospheric neon is a common characteristic of samples derived from the mantle. The helium and neon isotopic signatures in the samples can be explained by mixing of a primordial solar component, radiogenic and nucleogenic components produced by radioactive processes inside the Earth, and an atmospheric component. This reconnaissance survey of noble gases in a backarc basin indicates that current volcanism is dominated by magmas from the mantle wedge, a source similar to that from which MORBs are derived. The heavier noble gases (argon, krypton and xenon), however, show more atmosphere-like compositions, either indicating strong interaction of the magmas with the atmosphere or the presence of a recycled component derived from the underlying subducting slab.