Simultaneous Quantification of Temperature, Pyroxenite Abundance, and Upwelling Rates in the Iceland Mantle Source

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 2:25 PM
Eric Brown1 and Charles E Lesher1,2, (1)Aarhus University, Department of Geoscience, Aarhus, Denmark, (2)University of California Davis, Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences, Davis, CA, United States
The compositions and volumes of basalts erupted at the earth’s surface are a function of mantle temperature, mantle composition, and the rate at which the mantle upwells through the melting zone. Thus, basaltic magmatism has long been used to probe the thermal and physiochemical state of the earth’s mantle. Great insight has been gained into the mantle beneath the global spreading ridge system, where the mantle source is assumed to be homogeneous peridotite that upwells passively [1]. However, it is now recognized that many basalt source regions are lithologically heterogeneous (i.e. containing recycled lithospheric material ranging from harzburgite to pyroxenite) and upwell at rates in excess of those governed by plate separation. To account for these complexities, we have developed a forward melting model for lithologically heterogeneous mantle that incorporates thermodynamically and experimentally constrained melting functions for a range of peridotite and pyroxenite lithologies. The model is unique because it quantifies mantle upwelling rates based on the net buoyancy of the source, thus providing a means for linking basalt compositions/volumes to mantle flow while accounting for source heterogeneity. We apply the model to investigate the mantle properties governing magmatism along different rift segments in Iceland, where lithologic heterogeneity and variable upwelling rates have been inferred through geochemical means [2,3]. Using constraints from seismically determined crustal thicknesses and recent estimates of the proportion of pyroxenite-derived melt contributing to Icelandic basalt compositions [4,5], we show that mantle sources beneath Iceland have excess potential temperatures >85 °C, contain <7% pyroxenite, and maximum upwelling rates ~14 times the passive rate. Our modeling highlights the dominant role of elevated mantle temperature and enhanced upwelling for high productivity magmatism in Iceland, and a subordinate role for mantle heterogeneity, which is required to account for much of the observed chemical and isotopic diversity. [1] Langmuir et al, 1992, AGU Geophys. Mono. Ser. 71 [2] Chauvel & Hemond, 2000, G-cubed, v 1 [3] Kokfelt et al, 2003, EPSL, v 214 [4] Sobolev et al, 2007, Science, v 316 [5] Shorttle et al, 2014, EPSL, v 395