Extreme Hf and light Fe isotopes in Archean komatiites - a remnant of very early mantle depletion?
Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 5:30 PM
Hafnium isotope signatures in some Archean komatiites (ca. 3.5-3.0 billion years old) require a mantle source with a time-integrated Lu/Hf that exceeds average modern depleted mantle. Investigation of the timing and locus of parent–daughter fractionation in their mantle sources potentially constrains differentiation processes in the early Earth and their subsequent distribution and storage. In addition, they may help to constrain the Hf isotope evolution of the greater depleted mantle. In order to shed light on these processes, we discuss radiogenic Hf isotopes in conjunction with stable Fe isotope systematics in Archean komatiites from the Pilbara craton in Western Australia. Our findings indicate that, after careful evaluation of the effects of alteration, pristine samples are characterised by initial 176Hf/177Hf, which lie above the age-corrected depleted mantle, as a consequence of ancient melt extraction. Iron isotope systematics for these samples further point to a mantle source that is isotopically lighter than average modern depleted mantle, which is also consistent with melt-depletion. Taken together, these observations require a component of an old, super-depleted reservoir in the komatiite mantle source(s) that survived in the mantle for possibly hundreds of millions of years. The Lu/Hf of this refractory mantle appears to be complementary to, and therefore contemporaneous with, the first terrestrial crust, as preserved in Hadean (i.e., > 4 Ga) detrital zircon cores, which may indicate a causal relationship between them. We will discuss implications for very early mantle dynamics and the formation of very early mantle reservoirs.