Volatile Element Evidence of Local MORB Mantle Heterogeneity Beneath the Southwest Indian Ridge, 48°–51°E

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The mantle source beneath the Southwest Indian Ridge (SWIR) reflects a complex history of contamination. Magmatic volatile contents are vital tracers of these kinds of heterogeneities, which may fractionate otherwise constant volatile/non-volatile elemental ratios, such as the H2O/Ce ratio. Although several studies have recently used trace element and isotopic data to address mantle source heterogeneity and magmatic processes at SWIR 48°–51°E region, volatile element constraints provide a valuable test of models for the origins of mantle heterogeneities in this region. Here, we present new data for nine rare basaltic glass samples from the 48°–51°E region, which enable careful assessment of the effects of primary versus secondary processes on the glass volatile contents. These samples are strongly affected by variable extents of carbon degassing, and shallow assimilation of Cl-rich fluid, but also reveal consistently high H2O/Ce ratios (458.8 ± 14.9), among the highest in MORBs, that cannot be explained by late-stage secondary processes, crustal assimilation, or simple melting of peridotite mantle at variable depths. Instead, the high H2O/Ce ratios are features of the mantle source composition. The 48°–51°E region is notably more depleted in highly incompatible trace elements relative to other regions of the SWIR, although this depletion is not apparent in H2O, which is similarly abundant throughout the SWIR. We link the high H2O/Ce ratios in these glasses with other trace element characteristics diagnostic of subduction and fluid addition, suggesting that the mantle source reflects signatures of a refractory mantle residue that previously melted within a subduction zone.

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Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems