Origin and length scale of compositional anomalies in the convecting Earth: constraints from the Azores

Third party funded individual grant

Start date : 01.09.2011

End date : 30.03.2013

Project details

Scientific Abstract

Lavas from the Azores islands show some of the most extreme variation in trace element and isotope compositions known from oceanic intraplate volcanoes. This extreme variation has partly been explained by the presence of recycled crustal rocks in the mantle sources. Stable isotopes provide the prospect to increase our understanding of the generation of such mantle sources. While the 18O/16O of upper mantle olivines shows a small variability (~δ18O of 5.0-5.2 ‰) the incorporation of sedimentary and continental material into the mantle will significantly increase the δ18O. Contrastingly, the high temperature alteration of the oceanic crust will result in lower δ18O. The Azores archipelago displays an ideal site to study the O isotope variation of highly variable mantle sources on a small scale in order to determine their origin. We propose a systematic study of olivine and clinopyroxene phenocrysts from primitive lavas and plagioclase phenocrysts from evolved lavas as well as glass analyses from all lavas of the Azores volcanoes both east and west of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in order to better understand the variability of mantle sources and their origin. Chlorine and F concentrations in glasses from different islands will help to define crustal assimilation of the Azores magmas and can also be used to define recycled crustal material in pristine mafic rocks. This study will complement the large geochemical data set on the Azores magmas and provide important new insight into the origin of mantle sources.


Contributing FAU Organisations:

Funding Source