Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Unique sulfur isotopes in plume lavas reveal deep mantle storage of archean crust

Date:
April 24, 2013
Source:
Boston University College of Arts & Sciences
Summary:
Scientists have found evidence that material contained in young oceanic lava flows originated at the Earth’s surface in the Archean (>2.45 billions years ago). The new finding helps constrain the timing of the initiation of plate tectonics, the origin of some of the chemical heterogeneity in the Earth’s mantle, and may shed light on how the chaotically convecting mantle could preserve such material for so long.

An international team of researchers, led by scientists at Boston University’s Department of Earth and Environment, has found evidence that material contained in young oceanic lava flows originated at the Earth’s surface in the Archean (>2.45 billions years ago). The new finding helps constrain the timing of the initiation of plate tectonics, the origin of some of the chemical heterogeneity in the Earth’s mantle, and may shed light on how the chaotically convecting mantle could preserve such material for so long. The study appears in the April 25 issue of the journal Nature.

Related Articles


Tectonic plates at the Earth’s surface move around and collide at areas called subduction zones. In these areas, one plate is forced beneath the other and is transported into the Earth’s mantle. It has long been suggested that this subducted material must be re-erupted at a later time. However, the residence time of the subducted material in the mantle is uncertain and convincing evidence of its return to the surface has been lacking.

Sulfur isotopes provide the key to the authors’ discovery. According to the researchers, because mass-independently fractionated (MIF) sulfur isotope signatures were generated exclusively through atmospheric photochemical reactions until about 2.5 billion years ago, material containing such isotope signatures must have originated at the Earth’s surface in the Archean. In the new study, the researchers found MIF sulfur-isotope signatures in olivine-hosted sulfides from relatively young (20-million-year-old) ocean island basalts (OIB) from Mangaia, Cook Islands (Polynesia), providing evidence that material once at the Earth’s surface has been recycled through the mantle and re-erupted at a young ocean island.

“The discovery of MIF-S isotope in these young oceanic lavas suggests that sulfur—likely derived from the hydrothermally-altered oceanic crust—was subducted into the mantle more than 2.5 billion years ago and recycled into the mantle source of the Mangaia lavas,” says Rita Cabral, the study’s primary author and a graduate student in BU’s Department of Earth and Environment.

The data also complement evidence for sulfur recycling of ancient sedimentary materials to the subcontinental lithospheric mantle previously identified in diamond inclusions.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Boston University College of Arts & Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Rita A. Cabral, Matthew G. Jackson, Estelle F. Rose-Koga, Kenneth T. Koga, Martin J. Whitehouse, Michael A. Antonelli, James Farquhar, James M. D. Day, Erik H. Hauri. Anomalous sulphur isotopes in plume lavas reveal deep mantle storage of Archaean crust. Nature, 2013; 496 (7446): 490 DOI: 10.1038/nature12020

Cite This Page:

Boston University College of Arts & Sciences. "Unique sulfur isotopes in plume lavas reveal deep mantle storage of archean crust." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130424132632.htm>.
Boston University College of Arts & Sciences. (2013, April 24). Unique sulfur isotopes in plume lavas reveal deep mantle storage of archean crust. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130424132632.htm
Boston University College of Arts & Sciences. "Unique sulfur isotopes in plume lavas reveal deep mantle storage of archean crust." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130424132632.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How A Chorus Led Scientists To A New Frog Species

How A Chorus Led Scientists To A New Frog Species

Newsy (Oct. 30, 2014) A frog noticed by a conservationist on New York's Staten Island has been confirmed as a new species after extensive study and genetic testing. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Hawaii Lava Approaching Village Road

Raw: Hawaii Lava Approaching Village Road

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) The lava flow on the Big Island of Hawaii was 225 yards from Pahoa Village Road on Wednesday night. The lava is slowing down but still approaching the village. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Endangered Carpathian Ponies Are Making a Comeback in Poland

Endangered Carpathian Ponies Are Making a Comeback in Poland

AFP (Oct. 29, 2014) At the foot of the rugged Carpathian mountains near the Polish-Ukrainian border, ranchers and scientists are trying to protect the Carpathian pony, known as the Hucul in Polish. Duration: 02:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deadly Mudslide in Sri Lanka Buries Houses

Deadly Mudslide in Sri Lanka Buries Houses

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) A mudslide triggered by monsoon rains buried scores of workers' houses at a tea plantation in central Sri Lanka on Wednesday, killing at least 10 people and leaving more than 250 missing, an official said. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

More Coverage


Ancient Earth Crust Stored in Deep Mantle

Apr. 24, 2013 Scientists have long believed that lava erupted from certain oceanic volcanoes contains materials from the early Earth's crust. But decisive evidence for this phenomenon has proven elusive. New ... read more

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins