Oxygen fugacity profile of the oceanic upper mantle and the depth of redox melting beneath ridges

Friday, 19 December 2014: 8:15 AM
Fred A Davis, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, United States and Elizabeth Cottrell, Smithsonian, NMNH, Washington, DC, United States
Oxygen fugacity (fO2) of a mantle mineral assemblage, controlled primarily by Fe redox chemistry, sets the depth of the diamond to carbonated melt reaction (DCO3). Near-surface fO2 recorded by primitive MORB glasses and abyssal peridotites anchor the fO2 profile of the mantle at depth. If the fO2-depth relationship of the mantle is known, then the depth of the DCO3 can be predicted. Alternatively, if the DCO3 can be detected geophysically, then its depth can be used to infer physical and chemical characteristics of upwelling mantle.

We present an expanded version of a model of the fO2-depth profile of adiabatically upwelling mantle first presented by Stagno et al. (2013), kindly provided by D. Frost. The model uses a chemical mass balance and empirical fits to experimental data to calculate compositions and modes of mantle minerals at specified P, T, and bulk Fe3+/ƩFe. We added P and T dependences to the partitioning of Al and Ca to better simulate the mineralogical changes in peridotite at depth and included majorite component in garnet to increase the depth range of the model. We calculate fO2 from the mineral assemblages using the grt-ol-opx oxybarometer (Stagno et al., 2013). The onset of carbonated melting occurs at the intersection of a Fe3+/ƩFe isopleth with the DCO3. Upwelling mantle is tied to the DCO3 until all native C is oxidized to form carbonated melts by reduction of Fe3+ to Fe2+. The depth of intersection of a parcel of mantle with the DCO3 is a function of bulk Fe3+/ƩFe, potential temperature, and bulk composition. We predict that fertile mantle (PUM) along a 1400 °C adiabat, with 50 ppm bulk C, and Fe3+/ƩFe = 0.05 after C oxidation begins redox melting at a depth of 250 km.

The model contextualizes observations of MORB redox chemistry. Because fertile peridotite is richer in Al2O3, the Fe2O3-bearing components of garnet are diluted leading to lower fO2 at a given depth compared to refractory mantle under the same conditions. This may indicate that the negative
correlation observed between enrichment and fO2 at ridges (Cottrell and Kelley, 2013) is a consequence of the increased fertility of remixing recycled crust into the mantle. Addition of reduced C to the mantle during subduction can also explain this observation. Geophysical detection of the depth of the DCO3 may resolve these hypotheses.