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2018
Haroardottir, S, Halldorsson SA, Hiltons DR.  2018.  Spatial distribution of helium isotopes in Icelandic geothermal fluids and volcanic materials with implications for location, upwelling and evolution of the Icelandic mantle plume. Chemical Geology. 480:12-27.   10.1016/j.chemgeo.2017.05.012   AbstractWebsite

The distribution of helium isotope ratios (He-3/He-4) in Icelandic geothermal fluids, volcanic glasses and phyric lavas is investigated. Along with presenting a new helium isotope dataset using phyric lavas largely from off-rift regions, we compiled published data and constructed a database of all available helium isotope data from Iceland. The new dataset reveals an exceptionally high He-3/He-4 ratio from a phyric lava in NW-Iceland (47.5 R-A, where R-A is the He-3/He-4 ratio of air), which is among the highest values measured in any mantle-derived magma to date. Modifications of primary (i.e., mantle-derived) helium isotope ratios, due to additions of air-derived helium and He from radiogenic ingrowth, were evaluated and the database was filtered accordingly. The geographical information system ArcGIS (ESRI) was used to perform spatial analysis on the filtered database and the interpolation method, Natural Neighbor, was used to calculate representative helium isotope ratios for all parts of Iceland, including off-rift regions. The results show that helium isotope ratios for the whole of Iceland vary from 5.1 to 47.5 R-A. However, this study allows for a fine-scale distinction to be made between individual rift segments and off-rift regions. The results clearly reveal that each rift zone has its own distinctive mean isotope signature: 12-17 R-A in the Western Rift Zone, 8-11 R-A in the Northern Rift Zone and 18-21 R-A in the Eastern Rift Zone. Our isoscape map places new constraints on a previously inferred high-helium plateau region in central Iceland (Breddam a al., 2000). The plateau continues southward along the propagating Eastern Rift Zone and through to the South Iceland Seismic Zone and the Mid-Iceland belt. Its location coincides with many geological features, e.g., eruption rates, location of abandoned rift segments, seismic velocity and gravity anomalies. Such high helium isotope ratios have been associated with undegassed and primordial mantle sources that have been isolated in the lower mantle over Earth's history. Thus, high-helium domains throughout Iceland are interpreted to mark the loci of present and past plume conduits which help explain the considerable spatial variation in the sampling of a primordial mantle He component beneath the Iceland hotspot.

2017
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.

2005
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.

Fischer, TP, Takahata N, Sano Y, Sumino H, Hilton DR.  2005.  Nitrogen isotopes of the mantle: Insights from mineral separates. Geophysical Research Letters. 32   10.1029/2005gl022792   AbstractWebsite

We present the first nitrogen (N) isotope measurements determined by in-vacuo crushing of mineral separates from arc lavas, OIBs (Ocean Island Basalts), and mantle xenoliths. Measured OIB delta(15)N values range from similar to - 8 parts per thousand for the northern rift zone in Iceland to + 3.1 parts per thousand for a dunite nodule from Hawaii. Most arc-related olivines show distinctly positive values - up to + 6.2 parts per thousand (Cerro Negro, Nicaragua). The measured N isotope values in olivine separates are similar to gas samples collected at the same localities, suggesting that both media ( olivines and gases) sample volatiles primarily derived from the magma. This observation also implies that N isotope fractionation does not occur during magma degassing, a notion supported by (4)He/(40)Ar* data. Our results indicate a heterogeneous mantle source region, in terms of N isotopic composition, that may have resulted from surface recycling of N at some localities.

2000
Hilton, DR, Thirlwall MF, Taylor RN, Murton BJ, Nichols A.  2000.  Controls on magmatic degassing along the Reykjanes Ridge with implications for the helium paradox. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 183:43-50.   10.1016/s0012-821x(00)00253-3   AbstractWebsite

To consider the He-3 characteristics of plume-related lavas, we report a detailed survey of helium isotope (He-3/He-4) and concentration ([He]) variations along an 800-km transect of the Reykjanes Ridge (RR). He-3/He-4 ratios vary from 11.0 to 17.6 R-A (where R-A = air He-3/He-4) whereas [He] ranges over three orders of magnitude from > 5 mu cm(3) STP/g-in the range of most mid-ocean ridge basalts (MORB) - to lows of 4 ncm(3) STP/g. The lowest [He] and intermediate He-3/He-4 ratios occur along the northern RR (closest to Iceland) where eruption depths are shallow (<1000 m) and water contents of lavas are high (0.3-0.4 wt%). We suggest that low-pressure, pre-eruptive magmatic degassing is extensive in this region with degassed magmas susceptible to addition of radiogenic helium thereby lowering He-3/He-4 ratios. Along the southern RR, [He] reaches maximum values, and He-3/He-4 ratios display strong correlations with lead isotopes (Pb-206/Pb-204) consistent with binary mixing. These correlations indicate that the high-He-3/He-4 plume component has higher absolute abundances of the primordial isotope He-3 compared to the source of depleted MORB mantle. This finding implies that the so-called 'helium paradox' - the observation that plume-derived oceanic glasses apparently have lower He-3 contents than MORB glasses - may be an artifact related to considering lavas (e.g. from Loihi seamount, Hawaii) which have not retained their source volatile inventory as well as those erupted along the southern RR. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

1999
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.

1997
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.