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Characterisation of ocean island basalt sources : St. Helena

Chaffey, David John (1988) Characterisation of ocean island basalt sources : St. Helena. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

The extrusive and intrusive members of the St. Helena rock suite (SHRS) are formed in an intra-oceanic plate tectonic setting as part of two shield volcanoes. The SHRS vary from picrobasalts to phonofites. The former represent mantle derived melts, whereas the remainder of the suite have undergone differing degrees of crystal fractionation. A stratigraphic framework is developed to illustrate temporal geochemical variations over 2 Ma of subaerial activity. This is accomplished in conjunction with a detailed field study of the SHRS by Baker(1968) which is shown to be largely accurate. It is demonstrated that ascending magma batches are substantially modified by crystal fractionation and subsequent alteration processes. Petrogenetic modelling shows that the genesis of the SHRS is consistent with small degree (1-10%) melting of an olivine - clinopyroxene - orthopyroxene - garnet source containing a residual K-rich phase. Combined Sr-Nd-Pb isotope and fractionation corrected trace element data for fresh rocks enable consideration of changing thermal and chemical fluxes impinging on and interacting with the base of the lithosphere over a period of at least 2 Ma. The existence of two geochemically distinct components in the source region is indicated. A H/MU (high 238U /104Pb)c omponent has extremely radiogenic Pb isotopes (206Pb/104Pb> 20.8) with 143Nd/'44Nd and 87S8r,6 Sr displaced below the mantle array. The complementary depleted component has less radio genic Pb and Sr isotopic compositions and more radio genic Nd compositions. The limited variation of geochemical compositions in the SHRS (caused by mixing of these components) is attributed to the dissimilarity of the components in terms of their trace element abundance and their similarity in terms of ratios of highly incompatible elements. Coupled trace element and isotope variations are evident during the activity of each volcano. During shield development an increase in incompatible trace element enrichment occurs. This is coupled to a decrease in 143Nd/'44Nd, whilst Sr and Pb become progressively more radiogenic. The time dependent variations are thought to be consistent with mixing and melting processes occurring at the base of, or within the lithosphere. A decrease in the signature of the depleted component at the end of activity of the NE volcano and SW volcano is the inferred result of a decreasing thermal flux acting on the base of the lithosphere. With lower heat input less fusion of the depleted component (from the asthenosphere or lithosphere) occurs resulting in an increased H/MU signature in the erupted products through time. Previous explanations for the development of the dominant HIMU component are critically reviewed by considering shared isotope and trace element characteristics for HIMU OIB. U-Th-Pb systematics suggest the HIMU component has remained discrete from other mantle components for approximately 2 Ga. The fractionation event producing the H/MU component is shown to cause an increase in U/Pb and a decrease in Rb/Sr and Th/U.. This is thought to be consistent with a model suggested by Hofmann and White(1980,1982). in which HIMU represents ancient recycled altered oceanic crust. It is demonstrated that other models are less tenable. It is thought that the HIMU characteristics necessitate modification of oceanic crust in subduction zones in addition to the geochemical changes caused by hydrothermal alteration of oceanic crust.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds) > School of Earth and Environment (Leeds)
Depositing User: Ethos Import
Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2010 15:13
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2014 16:53
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/625

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