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Pringle, EA, Moynier F, Savage PS, Jackson MG, Moreira M, Day JMD.  2016.  Silicon isotopes reveal recycled altered oceanic crust in the mantle sources of Ocean Island Basalts. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 189:282-295.   10.1016/j.gca.2016.06.008   AbstractWebsite

The study of silicon (Si) isotopes in Ocean Island Basalts (OIB) has the potential to discern between different models for the origins of geochemical heterogeneities in the mantle. Relatively large (∼several per mil per atomic mass unit) Si isotope fractionation occurs in low-temperature environments during biochemical and geochemical precipitation of dissolved Si, where the precipitate is preferentially enriched in the lighter isotopes relative to the dissolved Si. In contrast, only a limited range (∼tenths of a per mil) of Si isotope fractionation has been observed from high-temperature igneous processes. Therefore, Si isotopes may be useful as tracers for the presence of crustal material within OIB mantle source regions that experienced relatively low-temperature surface processes in a manner similar to other stable isotope systems, such as oxygen. Characterizing the isotopic composition of the mantle is also of central importance to the use of the Si isotope system as a basis for comparisons with other planetary bodies (e.g., Moon, Mars, asteroids).

Here we present the first comprehensive suite of high-precision Si isotope data obtained by MC-ICP-MS for a diverse suite of OIB. Samples originate from ocean islands in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Ocean basins and include representative end-members for the EM-1, EM-2, and HIMU mantle components. On average, δ30Si values for OIB (−0.32 ± 0.09‰, 2 sd) are in general agreement with previous estimates for the δ30Si value of Bulk Silicate Earth (−0.29 ± 0.07‰, 2 sd; Savage et al., 2014). Nonetheless, some small systematic variations are present; specifically, most HIMU-type (Mangaia; Cape Verde; La Palma, Canary Islands) and Iceland OIB are enriched in the lighter isotopes of Si (δ30Si values lower than MORB), consistent with recycled altered oceanic crust and lithospheric mantle in their mantle sources.