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Cosmogenic 3He production rates revisited from evidences of grain size dependent release of matrix-sited helium

Abstract : Measurements of the cosmogenic 3He (3Hec) content of various size aliquots of exposed olivines show that the fine fraction (<140 μm) has 3Hec concentrations between 14 and 100% lower than that of the coarse fractions (0.14–1 mm). Such differences attest to a grain size dependent partial release of 3Hec from the phenocrysts matrix during the preliminary in vacuo crushing. This result might have important implications since most 3Hec measurements have used for ∼20 yr a standard routine based on the fusion of bulk powdered phenocrysts, whatever their grain size. A suite of new data obtained from coarse olivine grains yielded a mean Sea Level High Latitude 3Hec production rate (SLHL P3) of 128±5 and 136±6 at. g−1 yr−1, depending on the scaling factors used. This new value, which is ∼15% higher than previously published rates, is obtained from 5 ropy flow surfaces of Mt Etna (38°N) and Hawaiian (19°N) volcanoes, at elevations between sea level and 870 m and ranging in age from 1.47±0.05 to 149±23 ka according to independent 14C or K/Ar dating. 3He loss during the crushing step might account for the discrepancy between the standard reference value of 110–115 at. g−1 yr−1 and the higher SLHL P3 proposed here. More generally, removal of the powdered fraction before fusion is an important point to consider in further studies in order to avoid any 3Hec systematic underestimates. An altitudinal section has also been sampled on the ropy surface of a ∼1500 yr single flow of Mauna Loa (19°N) which allowed a new empirical atmospheric attenuation length of 149±22 g cm−2 to be documented for 3Hec in olivines between 2400 and 4000 m elevations.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, February 6, 2008 - 4:43:50 PM
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P.-H. Blard, R. Pik, J. Lavé, D. Bourles, P.G. Burnard, et al.. Cosmogenic 3He production rates revisited from evidences of grain size dependent release of matrix-sited helium. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Elsevier, 2006, 247, pp.222-234. ⟨10.1016/j.epsl.2006.05.012⟩. ⟨insu-00243103⟩



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