Osmium Isotope Heterogeneity in the Constituent Phases of Mid-Ocean Ridge Basalts

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Science  02 Jan 2004:
Vol. 303, Issue 5654, pp. 70-72
DOI: 10.1126/science.1090266

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Radiogenic isotope variations in mid-ocean ridge basalts (MORB) are commonly attributed to compositional variations in Earth's upper mantle. For the rheniumosmium isotope system, constituent MORB phases are shown to possess exceptionally high Re/Os (parent/daughter) ratios, consequently radiogenic 187Os is produced from the decay of 187Re over short periods of time. Thus, in the absence of precise age constraints, Os isotope variations cannot be unambiguously attributed to their source, although Re–Os isotope data for constituent minerals can yield crystallization ages, details of equilibration, and initial Os isotope values that relate directly to the mantle source.

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