Primitive Boron Isotope Composition of the Mantle

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Science  21 Jul 1995:
Vol. 269, Issue 5222, pp. 383-386
DOI: 10.1126/science.269.5222.383


Boron isotope ratios are homogeneous in volcanic glasses of oceanic island basalts [–9.9 ± 1.3 per mil, relative to standard NBS 951 (defined by the National Bureau of Standards)], whereas mid-oceanic ridge basalts (MORBs) and back-arc basin basalts (BABBs) show generally higher and more variable ratios. Melts that have assimilated even small amounts of altered basaltic crust show significant variations in the boron isotope ratios. Assimilation may thus account for the higher boron ratios of MORBs and BABBs. A budget of boron between mantle and crust implies that the primitive mantle had a boron isotope ratio of –10 ± 2 per mil and that this ratio was not fractionated significantly during the differentiation of the mantle.