He, Ne and Ar 'snapshot' of the subcontinental lithospheric mantle from CO2 well gases

Stuart Gilfillan, Chris J. Ballentine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The subcontinental lithospheric mantle (SCLM) constitutes a significant portion of the upper mantle sourcing magmatic volatiles to the continents above, yet its geochemical signature and evolution remain poorly constrained. Here we present new interpretation of noble gas datasets from two magmatic CO2 fields in the SW US, namely Bravo Dome and Sheep Mountain, which provide a unique insight into the volatile character of the SCLM sourcing the Cenozoic volcanism in the region. We identify that reduction of 3He/4Hemantle ratio within the Sheep Mountain CO2 field can be attributed to radiogenic production within the SCLM. Using a Reduced Chi-Squared minimisation on the variation of derived 4He/21Necrust ratios within samples from the Sheep Mountain field, combined with a radiogenically raised 21Ne/22Nemantle end member, we resolve 3He/4Hemantle ratios of 2.59 ± 0.15 to 3.00 ± 0.18 Ra. These values correspond with a 21Ne/22Nemantle value of 0.136. Using these 3He/4Hemantle end member values with 21Nemantle resolved from Ne three component analysis, we derive the elemental 3He/22Nemantle of 2.80 ± 0.16 and radiogenic 4He/21Ne*mantle range of 1.11 ± 0.11 to 1.30 ± 0.14. A second Reduced Chi-Squared minimisation performed on the variation of 21Ne/40Arcrust ratios has allowed us to also determine both the 4He/40Armantle range of 0.78 to 1.21 and 21Ne/40Armantle of 7.66 ± 1.62 to 7.70 ± 1.54 within the field. Combining these ratios with the known mantle production ranges for 4He/21Ne and 4He/40Ar allows resolution of the radiogenic He/Ne and He/Ar ratios corresponding to the radiogenically lowered 3He/4Hemantle ratios. Comparing these values with those resolved from the Bravo Dome field allows identification of a clear and coherent depletion of He to Ne and He to Ar in both datasets. This depletion can only be explained by partial degassing of small melt fractions of asthenospheric melts that have been emplaced into the SCLM. This is the first time that it has been possible to resolve and account for both the mantle He/Ne and He/Ar ratios within a SCLM source. The data additionally rule out the involvement of a plume component in the mantle source of the two gas fields and hence any plume influence on the Colorado Plateau Uplift event.
Original languageEnglish
JournalChemical Geology
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sept 2017


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