Evidence for recycled plate material in Pacific upper mantle unrelated to plumes

Shiki Machida, Naoto Hirano, Jun Ichi Kimura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


We report Sr, Nd, and Pb isotopic data of young alkaline basalt lava from a new type of volcano (petit-spot) on the northwestern Pacific Plate. Petit-spot lavas show Dupal, or extremely EM-1-like, Sr-Nd-Pb isotopic compositions. The data cannot be explained by contamination of pelagic sediment, in spite of the prediction on the basis of geological observation. We thus consider that the geochemistry of petit-spot lava indicates the existence of recycled fertile plate materials, not only the Dupal isotopic signature, in the northern hemisphere Pacific upper mantle unrelated to one or more active plumes. In consideration of published experimental results for fertile plate materials, selective melting of recycled material is a process critical in generating petit-spot lava. Moreover, the small volume of the volcano and low degree of melting in the mantle source needed to form strongly alkalic lavas suggest that petit-spot volcanism is originated from small-scale heterogeneities of recycled material. This idea consistently explains the geochemistry and noble gas isotopic composition of petit-spot lava, and also suggests small-scale heterogeneity widespread in the upper mantle of the Pacific Ocean. Together with a revised view of upper mantle heterogeneity, we propose that gross upper mantle composition is controlled by abundances and scales of regions of recycled material that correspond to differences in the relative position to the Pangea supercontinent, suggesting the link to the tectonic origin of the global scale heterogeneity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3028-3037
Number of pages10
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2009 May 15


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