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Helium isotopic textures in Earth's upper mantle

Abstract : We report 3He/4He for 150 mid-ocean ridge basalt (MORB) glasses from the Southeast Indian Ridge (SEIR). Between 81°E and 101°E 3He/4He varies from 7.5 to 10.2 RA, encompassing more than half the MORB range away from ocean island hot spots. Abrupt transitions are present and in one case the full range occurs over ∼10 km. Melting of lithologically heterogeneous mantle containing a few percent garnet pyroxenite or eclogite leads to lower 3He/4He, while 3He/4He above ∼9 RA likely indicates melting of pyroxenite-free or eclogite-free mantle. Patterns in the length scales of variability represent a description of helium isotopic texture. We utilize four complementary methods of spectral analysis to evaluate this texture, including periodogram, redfit, multitaper method, and continuous wavelet transform. Long-wavelength lobes with prominent power at 1000 and 500 km are present in all treatments, similar to hot spot-type spectra in Atlantic periodograms. The densely sampled region of the SEIR considered separately shows significant power at ∼100 and ∼30-40 km, the latter scale resembling heterogeneity in the bimodal distribution of Hf and Pb isotopes in the same sample suite. Wavelet transform coherence reveals that 3He/4He varies in-phase with axial depth along the SEIR at ∼1000 km length scale, suggesting a coupling between melt production, 3He/4He and regional variations in mantle temperature. Collectively, our results show that the length scales of MORB 3He/4He variability are dominantly controlled by folding and stretching of heterogeneities during regional (∼1000 km) and mesoscale (∼100 km) mantle flow, and by sampling during the partial melting process (∼30 km).
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David W. Graham, Barry Hanan, Christophe Hémond, Janne Blichert-Toft, Francis Albarède. Helium isotopic textures in Earth's upper mantle. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, AGU and the Geochemical Society, 2014, 15 (5), pp.2048-2074. ⟨10.1002/2014GC005264⟩. ⟨insu-01016392⟩

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