The Chlorine Isotope Composition of Earth's Mantle

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Science  14 Mar 2008:
Vol. 319, Issue 5869, pp. 1518-1520
DOI: 10.1126/science.1150988

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Chlorine stable isotope compositions (δ37Cl) of 22 mid-ocean ridge basalts (MORBs) correlate with Cl content. The high-δ37Cl, Cl-rich basalts are highly contaminated by Cl-rich materials (seawater, brines, or altered rocks). The low-δ37Cl, Cl-poor basalts approach the composition of uncontaminated, mantle-derived magmas. Thus, most or all oceanic lavas are contaminated to some extent during their emplacement. MORB-source mantle has δ37Cl ≤ –1.6 per mil (‰), which is significantly lower than that of surface reservoirs (∼ 0‰). This isotopic difference between the surface and deep Earth results from net Cl isotopic fractionation (associated with removal of Cl from the mantle and its return by subduction over Earth history) and/or the addition (to external reservoirs) of a late volatile supply that is 37Cl-enriched.

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