Silicon isotope fractionation during magmatic differentiation

Savage, Paul S. and Georg, R. Bastien and Williams, Helen M. and Burton, Kevin W. and Halliday, Alex N. (2011) Silicon isotope fractionation during magmatic differentiation. Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta, 75 (20). pp. 6124-6139. ISSN 0016-7037 DOI

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The Si isotopic composition of Earth’s mantle is thought to be homogeneous (δ30Si = −0.29 ± 0.08‰, 2 s.d.) and not greatly affected by partial melting and recycling. Previous analyses of evolved igneous material indicate that such rocks are isotopically heavy relative to the mantle. To understand this variation, it is necessary to investigate the degree of Si isotopic fractionation that takes place during magmatic differentiation. Here we report Si isotopic compositions of lavas from Hekla volcano, Iceland, which has formed in a region devoid of old, geochemically diverse crust. We show that Si isotopic composition varies linearly as a function of silica content, with more differentiated rocks possessing heavier isotopic compositions. Data for samples from the Afar Rift Zone, as well as various igneous USGS standards are collinear with the Hekla trend, providing evidence of a fundamental relationship between magmatic differentiation and Si isotopes. The effect of fractionation has been tested by studying cumulates from the Skaergaard Complex, which show that olivine and pyroxene are isotopically light, and plagioclase heavy, relative to the Si isotopic composition of the Earth’s mantle. Therefore, Si isotopes can be utilised to model the competing effects of mafic and felsic mineral fractionation in evolving silicate liquids and cumulates. At an average SiO2 content of ∼60 wt.%, the predicted δ30Si value of the continental crust that should result from magmatic fractionation alone is −0.23 ± 0.05‰ (2 s.e.), barely heavier than the mantle. This is, at most, a maximum estimate, as this does not take into account weathered material whose formation drives the products toward lighter δ30Si values. Mass balance calculations suggest that removal of continental crust of this composition from the upper mantle will not affect the Si isotopic composition of the mantle.

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: Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta
Volume: 75
Page Range: pp. 6124-6139
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2016 13:12
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2016 13:12

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