Silicon isotopes in granulite xenoliths: Insights into isotopic fractionation during igneous processes and the composition of the deep continental crust

Savage, Paul S. and Georg, R. Bastien and Williams, Helen M. and Halliday, Alex N. (2013) Silicon isotopes in granulite xenoliths: Insights into isotopic fractionation during igneous processes and the composition of the deep continental crust. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 365. pp. 221-231. ISSN 0012-821X DOI 10.1016/j.epsl.2013.01.019

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Abstract

The silicon (Si) cycle is of great current interest but the isotopic composition of the continental crust has not been determined. Magmatic differentiation generates liquids with heavier Si and the lower crust, thought to be dominated by cumulates and restites, is predicted to have a light isotopic composition. This is borne out by the composition of many types of granite, which appear to have relative light Si for their silica content. Here we report the Si isotopic compositions of two granulite facies xenolith suites, from the Chudleigh and McBride volcanic provinces, Australia, providing new constraints on deep crustal processes and the average composition of the deep continental crust. The xenoliths display a range of isotopic compositions (δ30Si=−0.43‰ to −0.15‰) comparable to that measured previously for igneous rocks. The isotopic compositions of the McBride xenoliths reflect assimilation and fractional crystallisation (AFC) and/or partial melting processes. Silicon and O isotopes are correlated in the McBride suite and can be explained by AFC of various evolved parent melts. In contrast, the Chudleigh xenoliths have Si isotope compositions predominantly controlled by the specific mineralogy of individual cumulates. Using the xenolith data and a number of weighting methods, the Si isotope compositions of the lower and middle crust are calculated to be δ30Si=−0.29±0.04‰ (95% s.e.) and −0.23±0.04‰ (95% s.e.) respectively. These values are almost identical to the composition of the Bulk Silicate Earth, implying minimal isotope fractionation associated with continent formation and no light lower crustal reservoir.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: NILAREP
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: 365
Page Range: pp. 221-231
Identification Number: 10.1016/j.epsl.2013.01.019
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2016 22:08
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2016 22:08
URI: http://eprints.esc.cam.ac.uk/id/eprint/3682

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