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Peters, BJ, Day JMD, Greenwood RC, Hilton DR, Gibson J, Franchi IA.  2017.  Helium–oxygen–osmium isotopic and elemental constraints on the mantle sources of the Deccan Traps. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 478:245-257.   10.1016/j.epsl.2017.08.042   Abstract

The Deccan Traps, a 65 million-year-old continental flood basalt province located in western India, is the result of one of the largest short-lived magmatic events to have occurred on Earth. The nature and composition of its mantle source(s), however, have been difficult to resolve due to extensive assimilation of continental crust into the ascending Traps magmas. To circumvent this issue, using high-precision electron microprobe analysis, we have analyzed olivine grains from MgO-rich (up to 15.7 wt.%) lavas that likely erupted before substantial crustal assimilation occurred. We compare olivine, pyroxene and plagioclase mineral chemistry and He–O–Os isotope compositions with bulk rock major- and trace-element abundances and 187Os/188Os for both bulk-rocks and mineral separates. Helium isotope compositions for the olivine grains generally show strong influence from crustal assimilation (<3 RA), but one ankaramite from the Pavagadh volcanic complex has a 3He/4He ratio of 10.7 RA, which is slightly lower than the range of 3He/4He measured for present-day Réunion Island volcanism (∼12–14 RA). Olivine-dominated mineral separates span a more restricted range in 187Os/188Os (0.1267 to 0.1443) compared with their host lavas (0.1186 to 0.5010), with the separates reflecting a parental magma composition less affected by lithospheric or crustal interaction than for the bulk-rocks. Despite significant He–Os isotopic variations,Δ17O is relatively invariant (−0.008±0.014‰) and indistinguishable from the bulk mantle, consistent with high-3He/4He hotspots measured to-date. Compositions of olivine grains indicate the presence of up to 25% of a pyroxenite source for Deccan parental magmas, in good agreement with ∼20% predicted from isotopic data for the same samples. Modeled pyroxenite signatures are similar to geochemical signatures expected to arise due to other types of mantle differentiation or due to assimilation of continental crust; however, we show that crustal assimilation cannot account for all of the compositional features of the olivine. Weak correlations exist between a global compilation of Xpx (Deccan: 0.2–0.7) and 3He/4He, δ18O (Deccan olivine: 4.9–5.2‰) and 187Os/188Os. Robust relationships between these parameters may be precluded due to a lack of two-reservoir source mixing, instead involving multiple mantle domains with distinct compositions, or because Xpx may reflect both source features and crustal assimilation. Notwithstanding, geochemical similarities exist between Deccan Traps olivine (3He/4He = 10.7 RA; 187Os/188Osi = 0.1313 ± 45, 2σ) and Réunion igneous rocks (3He/4He = 12–14 RA; 187Os/188Osi = 0.1324 ± 14). These relationships imply that a characteristic geochemical ‘fingerprint’ may have persisted in the mantle plume that fed the Deccan Traps, since its inception at 65 Ma, to ongoing eruptions occurring on Réunion up to the present-day.

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.