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Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences


Publication details for Professor Yaoling Niu

Niu, Yaoling & Batiza,R (1997). Extreme mantle source heterogeneities beneath the northern East Pacific Rise – Trace element evidence from near-ridge seamounts. Proceedings of 30th ICG 15: 109-120.

Author(s) from Durham


In this paper the authors summarize the result s of their t race element study of lavas from 50 near-ridge seamount s on
the flanks of the East P acific Rise (EPR) between 5°N and 15°N. These seamount lavas are dominated by deplet ed
N-type mid-ocean ridge basalts (MORB) with variably enriched E-t ype MORB and some ext remely enriched ones
resembling average compositions of ocean island basalts (OIB). This large composit ional variation reflects with great
fidelity the mant le source het erogeneity that is masked in lavas erupt ed at the EPR axis. In terms of incompatible
trace element abundances, this source heterogeneity can be readily envisioned as being due t o t he presence of
enriched domains of variable size and unevenly distribut ed within t he ambient depleted mantle. T he geochemical
consequence of melt ing such a heterogeneous source is to produce apparent mixing relat ionships in the lavas. T he
enriched domains may be dikes or veins resulting from low-degree m elt m et asomatism. T he low degree m elts may be
genetically related to eastward asthenospheric flow of Hawaii plume materials towards the EPR, as suggested by
mant le tomographic studies. Trace element dat a suggest that the enriched mat erials (hence Hawaii plume mat erials)
are ult imately derived from recycled oceanic crust.