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Copper Systematics in Arc Magmas and Implications for Crust-Mantle Differentiation

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Science  06 Apr 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6077, pp. 64-68
DOI: 10.1126/science.1217313

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Copper-Bottomed Crust

The formation of volcanic arc chains near subduction zones brings large amounts of magma from the upper mantle to the crust, contributing to the formation of island chains in the ocean and adding material to continents. Over time, arc magmas also contribute indirectly to the composition of the oceans and atmosphere through outgassing and weathering of volcanic minerals; however, it is unclear what determines the oxidized nature of arc magmas themselves. Lee et al. (p. 64) measured Cu contents in a range of arc-derived volcanic rocks as a proxy for arc magma redox states. An overall depletion of Cu, which is sensitive to reduced sulfur contents, in global continental crust suggests that there is a hidden reservoir of copper-rich sulfides deep in Earth's interior.

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