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Osmium isotope evidence for a heterogeneous 3He/4He mantle plume beneath the Juan Fernandez Islands

Map of Juan Fernandez Ridge
TitleOsmium isotope evidence for a heterogeneous 3He/4He mantle plume beneath the Juan Fernandez Islands
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsPaquet M, Day JMD, Castillo PR
Date Published2019/09
ISBN Number0016-7037
KeywordsHighly siderophile elements; Juan Fernandez; Mantle geochemistry; ocean island basalts; osmium isotopes

Mantle plume models have been widely applied to explain the formation of ocean island basalts (OIB), with high-3He/4He in their lavas being explained by sampling of a primitive deep mantle source. The Juan Fernandez Islands have 3He/4He (7.8–18 RA) similar to or higher than in mid-ocean ridge basalts (MORB; 8 ± 1 RA) and have been used to both support and refute the mantle plume hypothesis. Ambiguity regarding the origin of the Juan Fernandez Islands primarily originates from interpretation of mantle source signatures between the lava series from the two main islands, Robinson Crusoe and Alexander Selkirk. To examine this issue, we report new whole-rock and olivine separate 187Os/188Os ratios and major-, trace-, and highly siderophile-element (HSE: Re, Pd, Pt, Ru, Ir, Os) abundances. The HSE and trace element abundances in Juan Fernandez main shield lavas can be explained by up to 30% olivine removal, together with spinel crystallization at 1–5 kbar, whereas Robinson Crusoe rejuvenated lavas can be reproduced by higher-pressure fractional crystallization (up to 10 kbar). An assemblage of 30 modal % olivine and 1–5 modal % spinel, combined with the additional contribution of primary melt trapped in olivine inclusions reproduces the range of HSE compositions observed in Juan Fernandez Archipelago olivine grains. Ratios of 187Os/188Os for Juan Fernandez lavas are generally less radiogenic than global OIB and show no correlation with indices of fractionation, indicating that they reflect mantle source compositions. Younger basanite lavas from Robinson Crusoe represent rejuvenated volcanism dominantly from a depleted lithospheric mantle source (187Os/188Os < 0.13) mixed with a high-3He/4He component from the main shield building stage. These lavas are similar in origin and composition to other Pacific rejuvenated lavas (e.g., Samoa, Hawaii). Robinson Crusoe main shield lavas are from a high-3He/4He (>18 RA) and enriched mantle source (187Os/188Os = 0.1312) similar to the ‘C’ or ‘FOZO’ component, whereas Alexander Selkirk lavas are consistent with a dominant contribution from a depleted, low-3He/4He (<10 RA) mantle component. The mantle sources of the shield lavas yield subtle variations in Sr-Nd-Os-Pb isotope space and have no clear variations with relative or absolute abundances of the HSE or trace elements. These results are consistent with a heterogeneous mantle plume model, with initial eruption of lavas from a primitive high-3He/4He mantle source ∼4 million years ago (Ma) to form Robinson Crusoe Island, which also led to 3He enrichment of the oceanic lithosphere, followed by eruption of Alexander Selkirk lavas from a more depleted mantle source at ∼2 Ma. Juan Fernandez lavas show that mantle heterogeneity preserved in OIB can occur over short-timescales (<2 Ma) and can impact lithospheric compositions, leading to eruption of rejuvenated lavas with unusual isotopic characteristics.


We present new major-, trace- and highly siderophile element abundances (HSE: Re, Pd, Pt, Ru, Ir, Os) and Os isotope compositions for a suite of lavas and olivine separates from the Juan Fernandez Islands. We clarify the previous grouping scheme of Farley et al. (1993) for the basalts after showing that Robinson Crusoe basanites are rejuvenated lavas.

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