Temperature fluctuation of the Iceland mantle plume through time

Holly E. Spice, John Fitton, Linda Kirstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The newly developed Al-in-olivine geothermometer was used to find the olivine-Cr-spinel crystallization temperatures of a suite of picrites spanning the spatial and temporal extent of the North Atlantic Igneous Province (NAIP), which is widely considered to be the result of a deep-seated mantle plume. Our data confirm that start-up plumes are associated with a pulse of anomalously hot mantle over a large spatial area before becoming focused into a narrow upwelling. We find that the thermal anomaly on both sides of the province at Baffin Island/West Greenland and the British Isles at 61 Ma across an area 2000 km in diameter was uniform, with Al-in-olivine temperatures up to 300C above that of average mid-ocean ridge basalt (MORB) primitive magma. Furthermore, by combining our results with geochemical data and existing geophysical and bathymetric observations, we present compelling evidence for long-term (>107 year) fluctuations in the temperature of the Iceland mantle plume. We show that the plume temperature fell from its initial high value during the start-up phase to a minimum at about 35 Ma, and that the mantle temperature beneath Iceland is currently increasing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-254
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Issue number2
Early online date8 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016


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