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Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences


Publication details for Professor Yaoling Niu

Zhang, Y., Meng, F.X. & Niu, Yaoling (2016). Hf isotope systematics of seamounts near the East Pacific Rise (EPR) and geodynamic implications. Lithos 262: 107-119.

Author(s) from Durham


We report new Hf isotopic data for basaltic glasses from seamounts flanking the East Pacific Rise (EPR) between 5° and 15°N that have been previously analyzed for Sr–Nd–Pb isotopes as well as major and trace elements. The Hf isotopic data offer new perspectives on the petrogenesis of these samples in a broader context on mantle dynamics. The Hf isotope compositions show significant correlations with Sr–Nd–Pb isotopes and with both abundances and ratios of incompatible elements. The seamount lavas are thus best interpreted as products of melting-induced mixing in a two-component mantle.

The range in composition of EPR seamount lavas cannot be generated by simple mixing of melt and melting of variably heterogeneous mantle in which enriched and depleted materials contribute equally to melting (source mixing). Instead, the trace element and isotope compositions of seamount lavas can be reproduced by melting models in which more enriched, fertile mantle component are preferentially melted during mantle upwelling. At progressively lower degrees of melting, erupted lavas are thus more enriched in incompatible trace elements, have higher 87Sr/86Sr, 208Pb/204Pb ratios and lower 143Nd/144Nd, 176Hf/177Hf ratios. The “EM1” and “pyroxenite” endmember might be the suitable enriched component.

The Hf–Nd isotopic variations on global scale might result from the variations in amounts of residual continental lithospheric mantle that detached into upper mantle during continental rifting. The significant correlations of Rb/Sr vs 87Sr/86Sr, Sm/Nd vs 143Nd/144Nd and Lu/Hf vs 176Hf/177Hf give pseudochron ages of 182 ± 33 Ma, 276 ± 50 Ma and 387 ± 93 Ma, respectively. These different “ages” have no significance, but result from melting-induced mixing with the pseudochron slopes controlled by the compositions of enriched component and depleted end-member