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Iron isotopes in ancient and modern komatiites: evidence in support of an oxidised mantle from Archean to present

Hibbert, K. E. J., Williams, H. M., Kerr, Andrew Craig and Puchtel, I. S. 2012. Iron isotopes in ancient and modern komatiites: evidence in support of an oxidised mantle from Archean to present. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 321-22 , pp. 198-207. 10.1016/j.epsl.2012.01.011

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Abstract

The mantle of the modern Earth is relatively oxidised compared to the initially reducing conditions inferred for core formation. The timing of the oxidation of the mantle is not conclusively resolved but has important implications for the timing of the development of the hydrosphere and atmosphere. In order to examine the timing of this oxidation event, we present iron isotope data from three exceptionally well preserved komatiite localities, Belingwe (2.7 Ga), Vetreny (2.4 Ga) and Gorgona (0.089 Ga). Measurements of Fe isotope compositions of whole-rock samples are complemented by the analysis of olivine, spinel and pyroxene separates. Bulk-rock and olivine Fe isotope compositions (δ57Fe) define clear linear correlations with indicators of magmatic differentiation (Mg#, Cr#). The mean Fe isotope compositions of the 2.7–2.4 Ga and 0.089 Ga samples are statistically distinct and this difference can be explained by greater extent of partial melting represented by the older samples and higher mantle ambient temperatures in the Archean and early Proterozoic relative to the present day. Significantly, samples of all ages define continuous positive linear correlations between bulk rock δ57Fe and V/Sc and δ57Fe and V, and between V/Sc and V with TiO2, providing evidence for the incompatible behaviour of V (relative to Sc) and of isotopically heavy Fe. Partial melting models calculated using partition coefficients for V at oxygen fugacities (fO2s) of 0 and + 1 relative to the fayalite-magnetite-quartz buffer (FMQ) best match the data arrays, which are defined by all samples, from late Archean to Tertiary. These data, therefore, provide evidence for komatiite generation under moderately oxidising conditions since the late Archean, and argue against a change in mantle fO2 concomitant with atmospheric oxygenation at ~ 2.4 Ga.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
Uncontrolled Keywords: iron isotopes; komatiite; oxygen fugacity
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0012-821X
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:04
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/32286

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