Partitioning of light lithophile elements during basalt eruptions on Earth and application to Martian shergottites

Edmonds, Marie (2015) Partitioning of light lithophile elements during basalt eruptions on Earth and application to Martian shergottites. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 411. pp. 142-150. ISSN 0012821X DOI 10.1016/j.epsl.2014.11.034

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Abstract

An enigmatic record of light lithophile element (LLE) zoning in pyroxenes in basaltic shergottite meteorites, whereby LLE concentrations decrease dramatically from the cores to the rims, has been interpreted as being due to partitioning of LLE into a hydrous vapor during magma ascent to the surface on Mars. These trends are used as evidence that Martian basaltic melts are water-rich (McSween et al., 2001). Lithium and boron are light lithophile elements (LLE) that partition into volcanic minerals and into vapor from silicate melts, making them potential tracers of degassing processes during magma ascent to the surface of Earth and of other planets. While LLE degassing behavior is relatively well understood for silica-rich melts, where water and LLE concentrations are relatively high, very little data exists for LLE abundance, heterogeneity and degassing in basaltic melts. The lack of data hampers interpretation of the trends in the shergottite meteorites. Through a geochemical study of LLE, volatile and trace elements in olivine-hosted melt inclusions from Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii, it can be demonstrated that lithium behaves similarly to the light to middle rare Earth elements during melting, magma mixing and fractionation. Considerable heterogeneity in lithium and boron is inherited from mantle-derived primary melts, which is dominant over the fractionation and degassing signal. Lithium and boron are only very weakly volatile in basaltic melt erupted from Kilauea Volcano, with vapor-melt partition coefficients <0.1. Degassing of LLE is further inhibited at high temperatures. Pyroxene and associated melt inclusion LLE concentrations from a range of volcanoes are used to quantify lithium pyroxene-melt partition coefficients, which correlate negatively with melt H2O content, ranging from 0.13 at low water contents to <0.08 at H2O contents >4 wt%. The observed terrestrial LLE partitioning behavior is extrapolated to Martian primitive melts through modeling. The zoning observed in the shergottite pyroxenes is only consistent with degassing of LLE from a Martian melt near its liquidus temperature if the vapor-melt partition coefficient was an order of magnitude larger than observed on Earth. The range in LLE and trace elements observed in shergottite pyroxenes are instead consistent with concurrent mixing and fractionation of heterogeneous melts from the mantle.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 2014AREP; IA68;
Subjects: 05 - Petrology - Igneous, Metamorphic and Volcanic Studies
Divisions: 05 - Petrology - Igneous, Metamorphic and Volcanic Studies
Journal or Publication Title: Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume: 411
Page Range: pp. 142-150
Identification Number: 10.1016/j.epsl.2014.11.034
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2015 18:50
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2015 17:58
URI: http://eprints.esc.cam.ac.uk/id/eprint/3226

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