Hotspots, Basalts, and the Evolution of the Mantle

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  03 Jul 1981:
Vol. 213, Issue 4503, pp. 82-89
DOI: 10.1126/science.213.4503.82


The trace element concentration patterns of continental and ocean island basalts and of mid-ocean ridge basalts are complementary. The relative sizes of the source regions for these fundamentally different basalt types can be estimated from the trace element enrichment-depletion patterns. Their combined volume occupies most of the mantle above the 670 kilometer discontinuity. The source regions separated as a result of early mantle differentiation and crystal fractionation from the resulting melt. The mid-ocean ridge basalts source evolved from an eclogite cumulate that lost its late-stage enriched fluids at various times to the shallower mantle and continental crust. The mid-ocean ridge basalts source is rich in garnet and clinopyroxene, whereas the continental and ocean island basalt source is a garnet peridotite that has experienced secondary enrichment. These relationships are consistent with the evolution of a terrestrial magma ocean.