Geochemical heterogeneity in the Arctic mantle at Gakkel Ridge
Monday, 15 December 2014
Conductive cooling due to ultraslow spreading has been suggested to limit partial melting of the mantle and crustal production at Gakkel Ridge. In addition, the thick lithosphere induced by cooling should significantly control melt migration and extraction. To explore these effects at ultraslow spreading rates, major and trace element concentrations in pyroxene minerals are presented for 14 dredged Gakkel abyssal peridotites. Samples from the same dredge and among dredges reveal wide compositional variation. Trace element compositions of lherzolites reflect 4-6% non-modal fractional mantle melting. However, these high degrees of melting without a corresponding amount of oceanic crust suggest the occurrence of infertile mantle due to ancient melting event(s). In addition, high degrees of melt depletion at short length-scales (<60 km) cannot be thermally driven and must instead reflect inherited small length-scale variability. Harzburgite samples exhibit low concentrations in heavy rare earth elements that can be fit by 6 to ≥13% non-modal melting, but this results in modeled light rare earth element contents that are too low relative to observed concentrations. Instead, harzburgite trace element patterns require open-system melting involving interaction with a percolating melt. Extreme enrichments in highly incompatible elements also suggest the occurrence of late-stage refertilization and melt entrapment. Modeling of several different source melt compositions indicates that the trapped melt was generated from garnet field-equilibrated peridotite. Overall, the compositional variability in Gakkel peridotite samples reflects a heterogeneous mantle resulting from inherited depletion and recent melt percolation and entrapment.