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Stefansson, A, Hilton DR, Sveinbjornsdottir AE, Torssander P, Heinemeier J, Barnes JD, Ono S, Halldorsson SA, Fiebig J, Arnorsson S.  2017.  Isotope systematics of Icelandic thermal fluids. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. 337:146-164.   10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2017.02.006   AbstractWebsite

Thermal fluids in Iceland range in temperature from <10 degrees C to >440 degrees C and are dominated by water (>97 mol%) with a chloride concentration from <10 ppm to >20,000 ppm. The isotope systematics of the fluids reveal many important features of the source(s) and transport properties of volatiles at this divergent plate boundary. Studies spanning over four decades have revealed a large range of values for delta D (-131 to +3.3%o), tritium (-0.4 to +13.8 TU), delta(18) O(-20.8 to + 2.3%o), He-3/He-4 (3.1 to 30.4 R-A), delta B-11 (-6.7 to+25.0%o), delta C-13 Sigma co(2) (-27.4 to+ 4.6%o), C-1 Sigma co(2), (+0.6 to + 118 pMC), delta C-l3(CH4) (-523 to-17.8%o), delta N-15 (-10.5 to+3.0%o), 8(34)C Sigma s(-ll) (-10.9 to (+)3.4%o), delta S-34(SO4) (-2.0to + 21.2%) and delta Cl-37 (-1.0 to + 2.1%o) in both liquid and vapor phases. Based on this isotopic dataset, the thermal waters originate from meteoric inputs and/or seawater. For other volatiles, degassing of mantle-derived melts contributes to He, CO2 and possibly also to Cl in the fluids. Water-basalt interaction also contributes to CO2 and is the major source of H2S, SO4, Cl and B in the fluids. Redox reactions additionally influence the composition of the fluids, for example, oxidation of H2S to SO4 and reduction of CO2 to CH4. Air water interaction mainly controls N-2, Ar and Ne concentrations. The large range of many non-reactive volatile isotope ratios, such as delta C-13 Sigma co(2)and(34)S Sigma S-u indicate heterogeneity of the mantle and mantle-derived melts beneath Iceland. In contrast, the large range of many reactive isotopes, such as delta C-13 Sigma co(2), and delta S-34 Sigma S-u, are heavily affected by processes occurring within the geothermal systems, including fluid-rock interaction, depressurization boiling, and isotopic fractionation between secondary minerals and the aqueous and vapor species. Variations due to these geothermal processes may exceed differences observed among various crust and mantle sources, highlighting the importance and effects of chemical reactions on the isotope systematics of reactive elements. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Fischer, TP, Ramirez C, Mora-Amador RA, Hilton DR, Barnes JD, Sharp ZD, Le Brun M, de Moor JM, Barry PH, Furi E, Shaw AM.  2015.  Temporal variations in fumarole gas chemistry at Pods volcano, Costa Rica. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. 294:56-70.   10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2015.02.002   AbstractWebsite

We report the chemical and isotopic composition of fumarole gas discharges collected at Pods Volcano, Costa Rica from 2001 to 2014, covering a period during which the volcano experienced a series of phreatic eruptions (March 2006 to October 2014). The relative abundances of Poas C-S-H-O gas species are controlled by reactions involving the SO2-H2S and So-SO2 gas buffers indicating magmatic temperatures of up to 800 degrees C. Although fumarole outlet temperatures are <120 degrees C for most samples, SO2 is the dominant sulfur gas and HCl contents are relatively high. Gas compositional changes within the magma-lake-hydrothermal system likely result from a combination of several processes, including: 1) The injection of new and undegassed magma in late 2000-early 2001,2) the heating of the hydrothermal system, accompanied by gas pressure build-up, and 3) hydrofracturing through 2006. These processes culminated in the phreatic eruptions of 2006 and 2008. Since 2005 the lake level has declined and is now (January 2014) at the lowest level (10 m) since the last periods that it dried out completely (April 1984 and April 1994). The most recent data of 2014 show high level of degassing from the dome fumaroles and the release of HCI-rich and CO2-poor gases implies that the magma injected in late 2000 continues to supply volatiles. Our data show that time series sampling of fumarole gases provides important insights to better understand magmatic and hydrothermal processes at active volcanoes and also to potentially forecast phreatic eruptions. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Gulec, N, Hilton DR.  2006.  Helium and heat distribution in western Anatolia, Turkey; relationship to active extension and volcanism. Special Paper Geological Society of America. 409:305-319.   10.1130/2006.2409(16)   Abstract

Western Anatolia, one of the world's best-known extensional terrains, is characterized by the presence of several moderate- to high-enthalpy geothermal fields. Geo-thermal fluids have helium isotope compositions reflecting mixing between mantle and crustal helium components, the former ranging between 0.58% and 45% of the total helium in a given sample. Regarding the distribution of heat and mantle He and their correlation with tectonic structure and volcanism in western Anatolia, the prominent features are as follows: (1) the association between highest heat and highest (super 3) He lies along the eastern segment of the Buyuk Menderes graben, (2) the high heat and high (super 3) He occur in the vicinity of the Quaternary Kula volcanism, (3) high-enthalpy fields exist in close vicinity to the young alkaline volcanics, (4) relatively high mantle He contributions occur in areas of not only the young alkaline, but also the old calc-alkaline volcanics, and (5) there is a lack of volcanic exposures along the Buyuk Menderes graben (except at its western and southeastern terminations), where the highest values are recorded for both heat and helium. The first three features collectively suggest that the transfer mechanism for both heat and helium is probably mantle melting accompanying the current extension in western Anatolia, yet the latter two further indicate that this may be accomplished via subsurface plutonic activities. The large range observed in the helium isotope compositions may be linked with differential (local) extension rates and associated melt generation in the respective areas. This suggestion can be substantiated by He isotope data from more of the region.

Day, JMD, Hilton DR, Pearson DG, Macpherson CG, Kjarsgaard BA, Janney PE.  2005.  Absence of a high time-integrated He-3/(U+Th) source in the mantle beneath continents. Geology. 33:733-736.   10.1130/g21625.1   AbstractWebsite

Volcanic rocks from ocean island and continental flood basalt provinces can exhibit He-3/He-4 ratios greatly in excess of those of mid-oceanic-ridge basalts (MORB). High He-3/He-4 ratios must indicate derivation from a mantle source with high time-integrated He-3/(U+Th) relative to depleted MORB-source mantle. The location of the high He-3/He-4 mantle reservoir is a poorly resolved but important issue because of the constraints it places upon the structure and convective style of Earth's mantle. It has been proposed that the high He-3/He-4 reservoir resides in the upper mantle, rather than the lower mantle, because Earth should be volatile poor and highly differentiated, with incompatible elements (such as He) concentrated in the upper mantle and crust. This hypothesis can be tested using continental intraplate alkaline volcanics (CIAV) that are generated at or near the boundary between the conducting lithospheric and convecting asthenospheric mantle. Olivine and clinopyroxene phenocrysts from Cretaceous to Miocene CIAV from Canada, South Africa, and Uganda have He-3/He-4 ratios more radiogenic than MORB, strongly arguing against a widespread high He-3/He-4 source in the continental lithosphere or the underlying convecting upper mantle. Combined with a global data set of CIAV and continental lithosphere mantle xenoliths, these results provide no evidence for high He-3/He-4 in any samples known to originate from this environment. Therefore, volcanic rocks with He-3/He-4 greater than MORB He-3/He-4 are likely to sample a mantle source with high time-integrated He-3/(U+Th) that cannot exist within or below the continents. This reservoir is also unlikely to exist within the upper mantle as defined by the He-3/He-4 distribution in MORB.

Macpherson, CG, Hilton DR, Day JMD, Lowry D, Gronvold K.  2005.  High-He-3/He-4, depleted mantle and low-delta O-18, recycled oceanic lithosphere in the source of central Iceland magmatism. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 233:411-427.   10.1016/j.epsl.2005.02.037   AbstractWebsite

New helium and oxygen isotope data and trace element concentrations are reported for volcanic rocks from central Iceland. Basalts that are depleted in the most incompatible trace elements possess a wide range in He-3/He-4 but most ratios are similar to or higher than those of mid-ocean ridge basalt (MORB:similar to 8R(A)[1] [D.W. Graham, Noble gas geochemistry of mid-ocean ridge and ocean island basalts: characterisation of mantle source reservoirs, in: D.P. Porcelli, C.J. Ballentine, R. Wieler (Eds.), Noble gases in Geochemistry and Cosmochemistry, Rev. Mineral. Geochem., vol. 47, 2002, pp. 247-317]). The low concentrations of helium in these rocks suggest that significant degassing has made them susceptible to contamination by low-He-3/He-4 crust, therefore all measured He-3/He-4 are considered minimum estimates for their sources. Elevated helium isotope ratios in the source of these rocks result from interaction with high-He-3/He-4 mantle. The highest oxygen isotope ratios in the depleted rocks are similar to those in melts from typical depleted upper mantle and the range of delta(18)O values is consistent with variable, limited amounts of contamination by Icelandic crust. Most of the incompatible trace element-enriched rocks possess He-3/He-4 ratios that are similar to or lower than those in MORB. These rocks were erupted close to the postulated centre of the Iceland plume. This observation contradicts models in which high-He-3/He-4 characterises the focus of mantle upwelling. A source with MORB-like He-3/He-4 ratios may also be common to other parts of the North Atlantic Igneous Province. The highest delta(18)O values in the enriched rocks are lower than those in MORB and do not appear to have been affected by interaction with low-delta(18)O Icelandic crust. Recycling of hydrothermally altered oceanic crust that has been subducted into the mantle provides a plausible mechanism for generating an O-18-poor source with the trace element and isotopic characteristics of the enriched lavas. (C) 2005 Elsevier B.V All rights reserved.

Shaw, AM, Hilton DR, Fischer TP, Walker JA, Alvarado GE.  2003.  Contrasting He-C relationships in Nicaragua and Costa Rica: insights into C cycling through subduction zones. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 214:499-513.   10.1016/s0012-821x(03)00401-1   AbstractWebsite

We report He-3/He-4 ratios, relative He, Ne, and CO2 abundances as well as delta(13)C values for volatiles from the volcanic output along the Costa Rica and Nicaragua segments of the Central American arc utilising fumaroles, geothermal wells, water springs and bubbling hot springs. CO2/He-3 ratios are relatively constant throughout Costa Rica (av. 2.1 X 10(10)) and Nicaragua (av. 2.5 X 10(10)) and similar to arcs worldwide (similar to1.5 X 10(10)). delta(13)C values range from -6.8parts per thousand (MORB-like) to -0.1parts per thousand (similar to marine carbonate (0parts per thousand)). He-3/He-4 ratios are essentially MORB-like (8 +/- R-A) with some samples showing evidence of crustal He additions - water spring samples are particularly susceptible to modification. The He-CO2 relationships are consistent with an enhanced input of slab-derived C to magma sources in Nicaragua ((L+S)/M = 16; where L, M and S represent the fraction of CO2 derived from limestone and/or marine carbonate (L), the mantle (M) and sedimentary organic C (S) sources) relative to Costa Rica ((L+S)/M = 10). This is consistent with prior studies showing a higher sedimentary flux to the arc volcanics in Nicaragua (as traced by Ba/La, Be-10 and La/Yb). Possible explanations include: (1) offscraping of the uppermost sediments in the Costa Rica forearc, and (2) a cooler thermal regime in the Nicaragua subduction zone, preserving a higher proportion of melt-inducing fluids to subarc depths, leading to a higher degree of sediment transfer to the subarc mantle. The absolute flux Of CO2 from the Central American arc as determined by correlation spectrometry methods (5.8 X 10(10) mol/yr) and CO2/He-3 ratios (7.1 X 10(10) mol/yr) represents approximately 14-18% of the amount of CO2 input at the trench from the various slab contributors (carbonate sediments, organic C, and altered oceanic crust). Although the absolute flux is comparable to other arcs, the efficiency Of CO2 recycling through the Central American are is surprisingly low (14-18% vs. a global average of similar to50%). This may be attributed to either significant C loss in the forearc region, or incomplete decarbonation of carbonate sediments at subarc depths. The implication of the latter case is that a large fraction of C (up to 86%) may be transferred to the deep mantle (depths beyond the source of arc magmas). (C) 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Hoke, L, Lamb S, Hilton DR, Poreda RJ.  2000.  Southern limit of mantle-derived geothermal helium emissions in Tibet: implications for lithospheric structure. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 180:297-308.   10.1016/s0012-821x(00)00174-6   AbstractWebsite

The isotopic composition of helium emitted from geothermal springs in the southern Tibetan plateau, reported as R-c/R-A (R-c = air corrected sample He-3/He-4, R-A = air He-3/He-4), ranges from 0.013 to 0.38, and defines two principal domains. In southernmost central Tibet, helium isotope ratios are typical of radiogenic helium production in the crust (R-c/R-A < 0.05, crustal helium domain). Further north, there is a resolvable He-3 anomaly consistent with a mantle contribution (R/R-A > 0.1, mantle helium domain). The highest values of 0.27-0.38 R-A occur at the southern end of the Karakoram fault. The boundary between the two domains lies 50-100 km north of the Indus-Zangpo suture zone. There seems to be no association between the He-3 anomaly and zones of active normal faulting and litho-tectonic crustal units, such as the ultramafic rocks of the Indus-Zangpo suture zone and the Gangdese intrusive belt. Although scavenging of mantle-derived helium, stored in large ultrabasic and basic intrusions in the crust, cannot be ruled out entirely, we argue that the He-3 anomaly most plausibly reflects degassing of volatiles from young (Quaternary) mantle-derived melts intruded into the crust. As such, it defines the southern limit of recent mantle melting and mantle melt extraction beneath the Tibetan plateau. The southern limit of the He-3 anomaly coincides with the junction between the Indian and Asian plates, in the region where the Indian lithospheric slab steepens and is subducted beneath Tibet as suggested by seismic studies. Recent mantle melting and melt extraction is confined to the Asian mantle, but the southern limit of the melt zone may have migrated northwards during the last 10 Ma as the Indian lithosphere has progressively underthrust the Himalayas and Tibet. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Hilton, DR, Gronvold K, Macpherson CG, Castillo PR.  1999.  Extreme He-3/He-4 ratios in northwest Iceland: constraining the common component in mantle plumes. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 173:53-60.   10.1016/s0012-821x(99)00215-0   AbstractWebsite

Olivine and clinopyroxene phenocrysts contained in late Tertiary basalts from Selardalur, northwest Iceland, carry volatiles with the highest helium isotope ratio yet reported for any mantle plume. He-3/He-4 ratios measured on three different samples and extracted by stepped crushing in vacuo fall consistently similar to 37 R-A (R-A = air He-3/He-4) - significantly higher than previously reported values for Iceland or Loihi Seamount (see K.A. Farley, E. Neroda [Annu. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci. 26 (1998) 189-218]). The Sr, Nd and Ph isotopic composition of the same sample places it towards the center of the mantle tetrahedron of Hart et al. (S.R. Hart, E.H. Hauri, L.A. Oschmann, J.A. Whitehead [Science 256 (1992) 517-520]) - in exactly the region predicted for the common mantle endmember based on the convergence of a number of pseudo-linear arrays of ocean island basalts worldwide (E.H. Hauri, J.A. Whitehead, S.R. Hart [J. Geophys. Res. 99 (1994) 24275-24300]). This observation implies that Selardalur may represent the best estimate available to date of the He-Sr-Nd-Pb isotopic composition of the 5th mantle component common to many mantle plumes. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Hilton, DR, McMurtry GM, Kreulen R.  1997.  Evidence for extensive degassing of the Hawaiian mantle plume from helium-carbon relationships at Kilauea volcano. Geophysical Research Letters. 24:3065-3068.   10.1029/97gl03046   AbstractWebsite

We report helium and carbon isotope and abundance characteristics of solfataras and steam fumaroles located within and around the central summit caldera of Kilauea volcano, Hawaii. Kilauea fluids are characterized by high-He-3 'hotspot' He-3/He-4 ratios of between 13.7 and 15.9 R-A (where R-A = air He-3/He-4) together with CO2/He-3 and delta(13)C(CO2) values of 4.6 - 8.4 (x10(9)) and -3.4 to -3.6 parts per thousand, respectively. We combine our measurements with CO2 flux estimates to reconstruct the He-3 characteristics of Kilauea parental magma allowing an estimate of the He-3 characteristics of the Kilauea mantle source. Derived He-3 contents of similar to 3.3 x 10(-11) cm(3)STP/g indicate that Kilauea magma sources are highly depleted in primordial He-3, compared to model estimates of magma sources supplying both spreading ridges and ocean islands. Our results are consistent with the notion that the Hawaiian plume has undergone extensive degassing prior to incorporation into the source region of Kilauea volcano. We suggest that degassing of mantle plumes, at Hawaii and possibly elsewhere, can act as an important control on the range of He-3/He-4 ratios observed to characterize ocean island basalts (OIBs); in turn, this can affect the relationship between helium isotopes and other tracers of mantle sources. Plume degassing can also explain the puzzling observation that the He-3 content of most OIBs is less than that of midocean ridge basalts (MORBs).

Taylor, RN, Thirlwall MF, Murton BJ, Hilton DR, Gee MAM.  1997.  Isotopic constraints on the influence of the Icelandic plume. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 148:E1-E8.   10.1016/s0012-821x(97)00038-1   AbstractWebsite

Thermally buoyant mantle, in the form of a plume, rises beneath Iceland creating a major topographic anomaly along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and in the surrounding ocean basin. However, the influence of the Iceland plume on the composition of lavas erupted on adjacent ridges remains a contentious issue. Trace element systematics and radiogenic isotope ratios of Sr, Nd and Pb suggest that the plume influences a region 1200 km in length. In contrast, the He-3 anomaly associated with Iceland closely corresponds to the 2400 km ridge section affected by thermal uplift. We present evidence that the Sr, Nd and Pb isotope signature of the Iceland plume is in fact as widespread as its thermal and He-3 anomalies. Results imply that much of the source of North Atlantic ridge basalts has been contaminated by lateral outflow of asthenosphere from the Icelandic plume. Consequently, estimates of the average composition of mid-ocean ridge basalt (MORB) sources are likely to be biased by including data from plume-contaminated regions. True MORB values, and perhaps upper mantle geochemistry, can be constrained only by considering data untainted by plume asthenosphere.

Jenden, PD, Hilton DR, Kaplan IR, Craig H.  1993.  Abiogenic hydrocarbons and mantle helium in oil and gas fields. U. S. Geological Survey Professional Paper, Report: P 1570. ( Howell DG, Wiese K, Fanelli M, Zink LL, Cole F, Eds.).:31-56., Reston: U. S. Geological Survey Abstract