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Behavior of Li and its isotopes during serpentinization of oceanic peridotites

Abstract : Analyses of Li and Li isotopes in serpentinized peridotites have been performed using Thermo‐Ionisation Mass Spectrometry (TIMS) and Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) techniques on samples collected from the southwest Indian Ridge (SWIR). In the bulk samples, Li concentrations range from 0.6 to 8.2 ppm, while whole rock δ6Li values range from −2.9 to −14‰. In situ analyses display a greater range in both Li concentration (0.1–19.5 ppm) and Li isotopic composition (−27 to +19‰), with the serpentinized portions having higher Li concentrations than the associated relict phases. These variations may reflect changes in Li partitioning and isotopic fractionation between serpentine and fluid with temperature and water/rock ratio. They may also be explained by changes in the composition of the serpentinizing fluid over the course of serpentinization. As the serpentine forms by interaction with a circulating fluid, it preferentially removes 6Li, causing the Li in the fluid to become isotopically heavier. The isotopic composition of the initial hydrothermal fluid is dominated by basalt‐derived Li, which easily overwhelms the very low Li content originally present in seawater. As this fluid circulates through ultramafic rocks, it induces the formation of serpentine that incorporates this mantle‐derived Li. Hence, Li in serpentine is mainly derived from oceanic crust rather than from seawater and serpentinization involves Li recycling within this crust. Consequently, Li isotopes are good tracers of the hydrothermal contribution in serpentinizing fluid. These results imply that serpentinized peridotites are probably only a minor sink of oceanic Li.
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Sylvie Decitre, Etienne Deloule, Laurie Reisberg, Rachael James, Pierre Agrinier, et al.. Behavior of Li and its isotopes during serpentinization of oceanic peridotites. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, AGU and the Geochemical Society, 2002, 3 (1), pp.1-20. ⟨10.1029/2001gc000178⟩. ⟨insu-01894565⟩

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