Research ArticleGEOCHEMISTRY

An Early Cretaceous subduction-modified mantle underneath the ultraslow spreading Gakkel Ridge, Arctic Ocean

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Science Advances  30 Oct 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 44, eabb4340
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abb4340

Abstract

Earth’s upper mantle, as sampled by mid-ocean ridge basalts (MORBs) at oceanic spreading centers, has developed chemical and isotopic heterogeneity over billions of years through focused melt extraction and re-enrichment by recycled crustal components. Chemical and isotopic heterogeneity of MORB is dwarfed by the large compositional spectrum of lavas at convergent margins, identifying subduction zones as the major site for crustal recycling into and modification of the mantle. The fate of subduction-modified mantle and if this heterogeneity transmits into MORB chemistry remains elusive. Here, we investigate the origin of upper mantle chemical heterogeneity underneath the Western Gakkel Ridge region in the Arctic Ocean through MORB geochemistry and tectonic plate reconstruction. We find that seafloor lavas from the Western Gakkel Ridge region mirror geochemical signatures of an Early Cretaceous, paleo-subduction zone, and conclude that the upper mantle can preserve a long-lived, stationary geochemical memory of past geodynamic processes.

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