U-series isotope evidence for the origin of continental basalts

Yemane Asmerom, R. Lawrence Edwards

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U-series isotopic data may uniquely constrain the depth of melting of basalts and present-day compositional variability of the mantle under continents, because the (230Th/238U) activity ratio of basalts depends strongly on the residual mineralogy. Rift basalts from the Pinacate Volcanic Field (PVF) in Mexico have (230Th/238U) of 1.22-1.35. In contrast, basalts from the San Francisco volcanic field (SFVF), Colorado Plateau, USA, part of a stable continental craton, have equilibrium (230Th/238U) values. The U-series isotopic data, consistent with recent mineral/melt partitioning results [1-5], require that some continental basalts from areas of thick crust be derived from the shallower lithospheric mantle source, and rift basalts from a deeper OIB-type asthenospheric source.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Aug 1995

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