OIB/seamount recycling as a possible process for E-MORB genesis

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Abstract

[1] This paper deals with the origin of enriched MORB independent from any hot spot activity. Indeed, MORB enrichment was readily attributed to a ridge/hot spot interaction and in absence of identified neighboring hot spot, to more questionable processes (e.g., incipient plume or plume activity residue). More recently, the existence of enriched MORB away from any identifiable hot spot was attributed to different origins (i.e., recycled oceanic crust and/or enriched mantle after subduction metasomatism). Within this frame, we present here a new set of geochemical analyses of major and trace elements and Sr, Nd and Pb isotopes on samples collected by submersible on both intersections of the 15°20′N fracture zone with the spreading axis of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. This area is characterized by an increasing enrichment of the lava compositions from north to south through the fracture zone. Results show that the geochemical enrichment observed with a different intensity on both sides of the fracture zone is linked to the 14°N topographic and geochemical anomaly. Our modeling shows that both trace element and isotopic compositions are consistent with a binary mixing between the regional depleted MORB mantle source and a recycled OIB/seamount, as previously proposed to explain the observed enrichment at 14°N. This model can also account for other enriched MORB i.e., the 18°–20°S region of the Central Indian Ridge, illustrating that it does not represent an isolated and local process. On the basis of our results and on the DMM isotopic evolution, the age of the recycled OIB/seamount is estimated to be ∼250 Ma, suggesting a recycling within the upper mantle. Considering the huge number of ocean islands and seamounts upon the ocean floor, their recycling into the upper mantle is a plausible process to produce enriched MORB.

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