Volatile and trace elements in basaltic glasses from Samoa: Implications for water distribution in the mantle Academic Article uri icon


  • We report volatile (H(2)O, CO(2), F, S, Q and trace element data for submarine alkalic basalt glasses from the three youngest Samoan volcanoes, Ta’u, Malumalu and Vailulu’u. Most samples are visibly sulfide saturated, so have likely lost some S during fractionation. Cl/K ratios (0.04-0.15) extend to higher values than pristine MORBs, but are suspected to be partly due to source differences since Cl/K roughly varies as a function of (87)Sr/(86)Sr. There are no resolvable differences in the relative enrichment of F among sources, and compatibility of F during mantle melting is established to be nearly identical to Nd. Shallow degassing has affected CO(2) in all samples, and H(2)O only in the most shallowly erupted samples from Vailulu’u. Absolute water contents are high for Samoa (0.63-1.50 wt.%), but relative enrichment of water compared to equally incompatible trace elements (Ce, La) is low and falls entirely below normal MORB values. H(2)O/Ce (58-157) and H(2)O/La (120-350) correlate inversely with (87)Sr/(86)Sr compositions (0.7045-0.7089). This leads us to believe that, because of very fast diffusion of hydrogen in mantle minerals, recycled lithospheric material with high initial water and trace element content will lose water to the drier ambient mantle during storage within the inner Earth. The net result is the counter-intuitive appearance of greater dehydration with greater mantle enrichment. We expect that subducted slabs will experience a two-stage dehydration history, first within subduction zones and then in the ambient mantle during long-term convective mixing. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • January 2006