Noble gases in the oceanic crust; preliminary results from ODP Hole 1256D

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Author(s): Kurz, M. D.; Curtice, J. M.
Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, Expedition 335 Scientific Party
Author Affiliation(s): Primary:
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Chemistry Department, Woods Hole, MA, United States
Volume Title: AGU 2011 fall meeting
Source: American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, Vol.2011; American Geophysical Union 2011 fall meeting, San Francisco, CA, Dec. 5-9, 2011. Publisher: American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC, United States
Note: In English. Accessed on Sept. 19, 2014
Summary: Noble gas isotopes and abundance ratios have been extensively used as tracers of oceanic mantle sources and fluxes. Most of the existing data are from seafloor basalt glasses and hydrothermal fluids, and there are very few studies of noble gases in the oceanic crust, which is an important component in global subduction flux estimates. In an effort to determine the relative contributions of mantle, radiogenic, and atmospheric/hydrothermal noble gas components in the ocean crust, we have performed helium, neon and argon measurements on a suite of gabbros and granoblastic dikes collected during IODP Expeditions 312 and 335 to Hole 1256D, a deep crustal borehole drilled into 15 Ma ocean crust formed at the East Pacific Rise during an episode of superfast spreading (>200 mm/yr). All measurements were carried out by coupled vacuum crushing and melting of whole rock samples, in order to determine the distribution of noble gases within the ocean crust. Total helium abundances in the gabbros range from 0.46 to 1.22 micro cc STP/gram, which is 2 to 5 times higher than literature data, all of which are from the slow spreading Southwest Indian Ridge (Kumagai et al., 2003; Moreira et al., 2003). These strikingly higher helium concentrations place constraints on the thermal crustal history (due to rapid helium diffusivity) and are assumed to reflect fundamentally different emplacement/degassing processes within crust formed at a super fast spreading rate. Crushing releases 12-25 % of the total helium in the gabbros demonstrating that most of the helium resides in the solid mineral phases. Contact metamorphosed granoblastic dikes have total helium contents lower than the gabbros (typically ∼ 0.15 micro cc STP/gram), but significantly higher than the assumed degassed basaltic protolith, thus suggesting that metamorphism actually adds helium to the crust, an important hypothesis that requires further testing. The helium isotopes obtained by crushing of both the gabbros and granoblastic dikes are dominated by mantle helium, with average 3He/4He = 6.5 ± .2 times atmosphere (Ra). This value is at the low end of the range for normal Pacific MORB helium data and is interpreted to represent the mantle source. 3He/4He values obtained by melting are slightly lower and are consistent with a small radiogenic component, and suggest that helium will be useful for geochronology of the ocean crust. In contrast with the helium isotopic data, neon and argon are dominated by atmospheric isotopic compositions, which is consistent with mineralogical and petrological evidence for extensive alteration of the crust. Crushing in vacuum releases a larger fraction of total neon and argon (28 to 64 %), suggesting that atmospheric/hydrothermal/alteration neon and argon are loosely bound, most likely in secondary alteration minerals. Small mantle argon isotopic components are only found in a few samples, and only during the heating experiments. These data suggest that the atmospheric noble gas components are most likely to be expelled during subduction of the ocean crust.
Year of Publication: 2011
Research Program: IODP Integrated Ocean Drilling Program
ODP Ocean Drilling Program
Key Words: 02 Geochemistry; 05 Petrology, Igneous and Metamorphic; Argon; Chemical composition; Crust; Dikes; East Pacific; Equatorial Pacific; Expedition 312; Expedition 335; Expeditions 309/312; Gabbros; Guatemala Basin; He-4/He-3; Helium; Igneous rocks; Integrated Ocean Drilling Program; Intrusions; Isotope ratios; Isotopes; Neon; Noble gases; North Pacific; Northeast Pacific; ODP Site 1256; Ocean Drilling Program; Oceanic crust; Pacific Ocean; Plutonic rocks; Stable isotopes
Coordinates: N064400 N064400 W0915600 W0915600
Record ID: 2015077309
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