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Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Journal Prestige (SJR): 3.166
Citation Impact (citeScore): 5
Number of Followers: 184  
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 0012-821X
Published by Elsevier Homepage  [3183 journals]
  • End-Permian (252 Mya) deforestation, wildfires and flooding—An ancient
           biotic crisis with lessons for the present
    • Abstract: Publication date: 1 January 2020Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 529Author(s): Vivi Vajda, Stephen McLoughlin, Chris Mays, Tracy D. Frank, Christopher R. Fielding, Allen Tevyaw, Veiko Lehsten, Malcolm Bocking, Robert S. Nicoll Current large-scale deforestation poses a threat to ecosystems globally, and imposes substantial and prolonged changes on the hydrological and carbon cycles. The tropical forests of the Amazon and Indonesia are currently undergoing deforestation with catastrophic ecological consequences but widespread deforestation events have occurred several times in Earth's history and these provide lessons for the future. The end-Permian mass-extinction event (EPE; ∼252 Ma) provides a global, deep-time analogue for modern deforestation and diversity loss. We undertook centimeter-resolution palynological, sedimentological, carbon stable-isotope and paleobotanical investigations of strata spanning the end-Permian event at the Frazer Beach and Snapper Point localities, in the Sydney Basin, Australia. We show that the typical Permian temperate, coal-forming, forest communities disappeared abruptly, followed by the accumulation of a 1-m-thick mudstone poor in organic matter that, in effect, represents a ‘dead zone’ hosting degraded wood fragments, charcoal and fungal spores. This signals a catastrophic scenario of vegetation die-off and extinction in southern high-latitude terrestrial settings. Lake systems, expressed by laterally extensive but generally less than a few-metres-thick laminated siltstones, generally lacking bioturbation, hosting assemblages of algal cysts and freshwater acritarchs, developed soon after the vegetation die-off. The first traces of vascular plant recovery occur ∼1.6 m above the extinction horizon. Based on analogies with modern deforestation, we propose that the global fungal and acritarch events of the Permo-Triassic transition resulted directly from inundation of basinal areas following water-table rise as a response to the abrupt disappearance of complex vegetation from the landscape. The δ13Corg values reveal a significant excursion toward low isotopic values, down to −31‰ (a shift of ∼4‰), across the end-Permian event. The magnitude of the shift at that time records a combination of changes in the global carbon cycle that were enhanced by the local increase in microbial activity, possibly also involving cyanobacterial proliferation. We envisage that elevated levels of organic and mineral nutrients delivered from inundated dead forests, enhanced weathering and erosion of extra-basinal areas, together with local contributions of volcanic ash, led to eutrophication and increased salinity of basinal lacustrine–lagoonal environments. We propose that the change in acritarch communities recorded globally in nearshore marine settings across the end-Permian event is to a great extent a consequence of the influx of freshwater algae and nutrients from the continents. Although this event coincides with the Siberian trap volcanic activity, we note that felsic–intermediate volcanism was extensively developed along the convergent Panthalassan margin of Pangea at that time and might also have contributed to environmental perturbations at the close of the Permian.Graphical abstractGraphical abstract for this article
  • Uranium isotopes as a proxy for primary depositional redox conditions in
           organic-rich marine systems
    • Abstract: Publication date: 1 January 2020Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 529Author(s): Michelle L. Abshire, Stephen J. Romaniello, Amy M. Kuzminov, Jessica Cofrancesco, Silke Severmann, Natascha Riedinger In marine sediments, authigenic uranium (U) enrichments and U isotope compositions are important tools for interpreting changes in redox conditions, however, their use as paleoproxies requires a comprehensive understanding of the dominant processes that contribute to sediments becoming enriched or depleted. This study focuses on the U content and 238U/235U ratio of organic-rich surface sediments from the Namibian continental margin, where high productivity results in an expanded oxygen minimum zone (OMZ). The investigated core sample sites are located on the shelf, shelf break, and slope where bottom water redox conditions vary from anoxic to suboxic to oxic, respectively. While all cores have relatively high total organic carbon (TOC) contents (up to 12 wt.%), each location displays a unique U to TOC relationship. Shelf sediment exhibit a fair correlation between U and TOC, while the shelf break and slope sediments show a pronounced decoupling of U and TOC. On the Namibia continental margin, particle-rich nepheloid layers transport organic-rich deposits from within the OMZ, through oxic water, to be redeposited on the slope. Due to the sensitivity of U to changes in redox conditions, this lateral movement results in the release of the reduced U phases back into the water column through oxidation while transporting the partially remineralized organic carbon to the slope. Oxidation of U during transport does not alter the average primary 238U/235U isotopic signature in redeposited sediment, and the combination of high TOC, low U content and high δ238U values may become a useful tool for the identification of the boundaries of ancient OMZs.
  • Sediment efflux of silicon on the Greenland margin and implications for
           the marine silicon cycle
    • Abstract: Publication date: 1 January 2020Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 529Author(s): Hong Chin Ng, Lucie Cassarino, Rebecca A. Pickering, E. Malcolm S. Woodward, Samantha J. Hammond, Katharine R. Hendry The polar region is experiencing one of the most rapid environmental changes driven by atmospheric warming, and feedbacks within the cryosphere. Under such a setting, it is crucial to understand the biogeochemical cycling of the nutrient silicon (Si) in the high latitudes, which is regulating the nutrient supply to polar ecosystems, and is linked to the global carbon cycle via diatom production. However, these efforts have been hindered by a lack of understanding of the benthic Si cycle, particularly the quantification of the sediment efflux of Si, and identification of the responsible mechanistic processes during early diagenesis. Here, we address these issues using new pore water profiles and incubation experiments on sediment cores collected from the Greenland margin and Labrador Sea, combined with Si isotope analysis and a mass balance model. Benthic Si flux at our study sites is found to be greatly heightened from values sustained by pore water molecular diffusion. The remainder of the flux is likely accountable with early dissolution of reactive biogenic silica phases at the upper sediments, and advective transport of pore waters. Our results highlight an active benthic Si cycle at a northern high-latitude continental margin, which could play a key role in recycling significant amounts of biologically available dissolved Si to the overlying water, and influencing the growth of benthic and planktonic communities in the polar region.
  • A new approach to thermal history modelling with detrital low temperature
           thermochronological data
    • Abstract: Publication date: 1 January 2020Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 529Author(s): Kerry Gallagher, Mauricio Parra We present an inverse modelling strategy to infer thermal history information from detrital low temperature thermochronological data from modern sediment sampling the outlet of a single catchment. As presented, the method relies on the assumption that the geological timescale thermal history was the same across the catchment. The detrital sample is assumed to represent a mixture of grains originating from a potentially unknown sampling of the present elevation range in the catchment. The approach also implements a method to infer a function describing the topographic sampling represented in the detrital sample. In practice, this may reflect variations in erosion with elevation but also lithological differences in the catchment (fertility) and the nature of erosion/transport processes in the catchment. A combination of detrital and in-situ bedrock data are recommended to improve the resolution of the topographic sampling function. We demonstrate the application of the approach to a set of fission track data from the Fundación catchment in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in northern Colombia. The inferred thermal history suggest a period of rapid cooling initiated around 50-30 Ma, followed by slower cooling to the present day, consistent with the regional geological history. The topographic sampling function estimates suggest that the hypsometric distribution is not appropriate in terms of the contributions from different elevations to the detrital sample. Rather, the data imply a higher proportion of sampling from lower elevations close to the location of the outlet where the detrital sample was collected.
  • A lower to middle Eocene astrochronology for the Mentelle Basin
           (Australia) and its implications for the geologic time scale
    • Abstract: Publication date: 1 January 2020Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 529Author(s): Maximilian Vahlenkamp, David De Vleeschouwer, Sietske J. Batenburg, Kirsty M. Edgar, Emma Hanson, Mathieu Martinez, Heiko Pälike, Kenneth G. MacLeod, Yong-Xiang Li, Carl Richter, Kara Bogus, Richard W. Hobbs, Brian T. Huber, Expedition 369 Scientific Participants The geologic time scale for the Cenozoic Era has been notably improved over the last decades by virtue of integrated stratigraphy, combining high-resolution astrochronologies, biostratigraphy and magnetostratigraphy with high-precision radioisotopic dates. However, the middle Eocene remains a weak link. The so-called “Eocene time scale gap” reflects the scarcity of suitable study sections with clear astronomically-forced variations in carbonate content, primarily because large parts of the oceans were starved of carbonate during the Eocene greenhouse. International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 369 cored a carbonate-rich sedimentary sequence of Eocene age in the Mentelle Basin (Site U1514, offshore southwest Australia). The sequence consists of nannofossil chalk and exhibits rhythmic clay content variability. Here, we show that IODP Site U1514 allows for the extraction of an astronomical signal and the construction of an Eocene astrochronology, using 3-cm resolution X-Ray fluorescence (XRF) core scans. The XRF-derived ratio between calcium and iron content (Ca/Fe) tracks the lithologic variability and serves as the basis for our U1514 astrochronology. We present a 16 million-year-long (40-56 Ma) nearly continuous history of Eocene sedimentation with variations paced by eccentricity and obliquity. We supplement the high-resolution XRF data with low-resolution bulk carbon and oxygen isotopes, recording the long-term cooling trend from the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM – ca. 56 Ma) into the middle Eocene (ca. 40 Ma). Our early Eocene astrochronology corroborates existing chronologies based on deep-sea sites and Italian land sections. For the middle Eocene, the sedimentological record at U1514 provides a single-site geochemical backbone and thus offers a further step towards a fully integrated Cenozoic geologic time scale at orbital resolution.
  • Testing the occurrence of Late Jurassic true polar wander using the La
           Negra volcanics of northern Chile
    • Abstract: Publication date: 1 January 2020Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 529Author(s): Roger R. Fu, Dennis V. Kent, Sidney R. Hemming, Pablo Gutiérrez, Jessica R. Creveling True polar wander (TPW) is the reorientation of the crust-mantle system driven by the redistribution of masses in the mantle and on the Earth's surface. In the ideal case, characterization of TPW requires paleomagnetic constraints on the motion of all major plates and independent reconstructions of relative plate positions. While such complete datasets are absent for pre-Mesozoic TPW inferences due to the absence of oceanic plates, they are available for the Late Jurassic (165-145 Ma) “monster shift”, a ∼30° amplitude proposed TPW event. Here we perform paleomagnetic sampling and Ar-Ar geochronology on the La Negra volcanics of Northern Chile, producing two new paleomagnetic poles with ages 165.8 ± 1.8 Ma (1σ; 84.3°N 0.9°E; α95=7.6°; N=28) and 152.8 ± 0.8 Ma (84.5°N 256.4°E; α95=10.8°; N=18). By combining these data with other recently published results, we compute a net lithospheric rotation of 25.3° ± 7.3° (1σ) at a mean rate of 1.21° ± 0.35° My−1 between 170 and 145 Ma with a peak rate of 1.46° ± 0.65° My−1 between 160 and 145 Ma. These rates are consistent with inferences from the Pacific Plate, implying true whole lithosphere rotation. Given coherent motion involving the entire lithosphere, we conclude that the Earth underwent rapid TPW between approximately 165 and 145 Ma, potentially driven by the cessation of subduction along the western North American margin.
  • Dy, Er, and Yb isotope compositions of meteorites and their components:
           Constraints on presolar carriers of the rare earth elements
    • Abstract: Publication date: 1 January 2020Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 529Author(s): Quinn R. Shollenberger, Gregory A. Brennecka One way to study the original building blocks of the Solar System is to investigate primitive meteorites and their components. Specifically, isolating these meteorites' individual components via sequential acid leaching can reveal isotopically diverse material present in the early Solar System, which can provide new insights into the mixing and transport processes that eventually led to planet formation. Such isotopic differences in the components are likely to be found in heavy rare earth elements, such as dysprosium (Dy), erbium (Er), and ytterbium (Yb), because their isotopes have different nucleosynthetic production pathways and the elements have significant differences in volatility; however, these specific elements have yet to be thoroughly investigated in the field of cosmochemistry. As such, we present the first combined Dy, Er, and Yb isotope compositions of sequential acid leachates from the Murchison meteorite, along with multiple bulk meteorites from different taxonomic classes. This work also presents a new method to separate, purify, and accurately measure Dy isotopes. Here we show that resolved Dy, Er, and Yb isotope variations in most bulk meteorites are due to neutron capture processes. However, Dy and Er isotopic compositions of bulk Murchison and Murchison leachates stem from the additions or depletions of a nucleosynthetic component formed by the s-process, most likely mainstream silicon carbide (SiC) grains. In contrast, the Yb isotope compositions of bulk Murchison and Murchison leachates display either unresolved or relatively small isotope anomalies. The disparate isotopic behavior between Dy-Er and Yb likely reflects their differing volatilities, with Dy and Er condensing/incorporating into the mainstream SiC grains, whereas the less refractory Yb remains in the gas phase during SiC formation. This work suggests that Yb is hosted in a non-SiC presolar carrier phase and, furthermore, that mainstream SiC grains may be the primary source of isotopic variation in bulk meteorites.
  • Kinetic carbon isotope fractionation links graphite and diamond
           precipitation to reduced fluid sources
    • Abstract: Publication date: 1 January 2020Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 529Author(s): Nico Kueter, Max W. Schmidt, Marvin D. Lilley, Stefano M. Bernasconi At high temperatures, isotope partitioning is often assumed to proceed under equilibrium and trends in the carbon isotope composition within graphite and diamond are used to deduce the redox state of their fluid source. However, kinetic isotope fractionation modifies fluid- or melt-precipitated mineral compositions when growth rates exceed rates of diffusive mixing. As carbon self-diffusion in graphite and diamond is exceptionally slow, this fractionation should be preserved. We have hence performed time series experiments that precipitate graphitic carbon through progressive oxidization of an initially CH4-dominated fluid. Stearic acid was thermally decomposed at 800 °C and 2 kbar, yielding a reduced COH-fluid together with elemental carbon. Progressive hydrogen loss from the capsule caused CH4 to dissociate with time and elemental carbon to continuously precipitate. The newly formed C0, aggregating in globules, is constantly depleted by −6.2±0.3‰ in 13C relative to the methane, which defines a temperature dependent kinetic graphite-methane 13C/12C fractionation factor. Equilibrium fractionation would instead yield graphite heavier than the methane. In dynamic environments, kinetic isotope fractionation may control the carbon isotope composition of graphite or diamond, and, extended to nitrogen, could explain the positive correlation of δ13C and δ15N sometimes observed in coherent diamond growth zones. 13C enrichment trends in diamonds are then consistent with reduced deep fluids oxidizing upon their rise into the subcontinental lithosphere, methane constituting the main source of carbon.
  • Water controls the seasonal rhythm of rock glacier flow
    • Abstract: Publication date: 15 December 2019Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 528Author(s): A. Cicoira, J. Beutel, J. Faillettaz, A. Vieli Rock glaciers are creeping periglacial landforms experiencing strong acceleration during recent atmospheric warming and raising concerns with regard to their future behaviour and stability. High resolution kinematic observations show strong seasonal and multi-annual variations in rock glacier creep, but the linking mechanisms to environmental forcing remain poorly understood and lack quantitative models. Here we investigate the interaction between rock glacier creep and climatic forcing - temperature and precipitation - by developing a novel conceptual and numerical modelling approach. The model is constrained and the results are compared with data from the Dirru Rock Glacier (Vallis - CH). We are able to reproduce the observed velocity variations both in magnitude and phase on seasonal and inter-annual time scales. We find that water from liquid precipitation and snow melt, rather than air temperature, is the main driver of variations in rock glacier creep. Our results imply that the influence of water on rock glacier creep is fundamental and must be considered when investigating the historic and future evolution of rock glaciers.
  • Triple oxygen isotope investigation of fine-grained sediments from major
           world's rivers: Insights into weathering processes and global fluxes into
           the hydrosphere
    • Abstract: Publication date: 15 December 2019Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 528Author(s): Ilya N. Bindeman, Germain Bayon, James Palandri Continental weathering is accompanied by formation of clays and other secondary minerals and their δ18O and Δ17O values should hence reflect to some extent signatures of meteoric water (δ18OMW) and mean annual temperatures (MAT). Our ability to extract climate information from weathered products across the geologic history relies on analytical methods tested and calibrated against modern climate conditions. We here present triple-oxygen isotope analyses of clay-size sediments from 45 rivers worldwide, as well as δ18O analyses of corresponding silt- and sand-rich detrital fractions, which altogether cover about 25% of the continental area that drained into the oceans, extending from the tropics to polar regions. The majority of studied clays closely approximate weathering products, always having high-δ18O signatures regardless of the bedrock type, and in equilibrium with local meteoric waters. Silts are only ∼1.9‰ lighter on average due to greater detrital dilution. Overall, bulk clays from across different climatic regions do not vary much isotopically; an observation which we attribute to opposing effects of temperature on clay-water fractionation and hydrologic relationship between temperature and δ18OMW. Mathematical inversion of measured clay δ18O and Δ17O values (corrected for detrital contribution) into MAT and δ18OMW, compiled for each studied watershed, returns satisfactory estimates. Globally, triple O isotopes in clays appear to be water-dominated, being controlled almost exclusively by δ18OMW at respective temperature of weathering, with minor effects related to evaporation. Using sand from rivers, correlation of δ18O silts with detrital proportions, and estimated surface outcrop of different rock types, we additionally arrive at a +11.5‰ estimate for the exposed silicate crust undergoing weathering.Globally-averaged, sediment-flux weighted clay δ18O and Δ17O values are +14.80‰ and −0.164‰, respectively. These values are significantly skewed toward O isotope signatures for the southeast Asia and western Pacific regions, characterized by very high sediment fluxes to the ocean. Using both clay- and silt-size fractions, the total weighted silicate weathering δ18
  • Taphonomic bias in exceptionally preserved biotas
    • Abstract: Publication date: 1 January 2020Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 529Author(s): Farid Saleh, Jonathan B. Antcliffe, Bertrand Lefebvre, Bernard Pittet, Lukáš Laibl, Francesc Perez Peris, Lorenzo Lustri, Pierre Gueriau, Allison C. Daley Exceptionally preserved fossil biotas provide crucial data on early animal evolution. Fossil anatomy allows for reconstruction of the animal stem lineages, informing the stepwise process of crown group character acquisition. However, a confounding factor to these evolutionary analyses is information loss during fossil formation. Here we identify that the Ordovician Fezouata Shale has a clear taphonomic difference when compared to the Cambrian Burgess Shale and Chengjiang Biota. In the Fezouata Shale, soft cellular structures are most commonly associated with partially mineralized and sclerotized tissues, which may be protecting the soft tissue. Also, entirely soft non-cuticularized organisms are absent from the Fezouata Shale. Conversely, the Cambrian sites commonly preserve entirely soft cellular bodies and a higher diversity of tissue types per genus. The Burgess and Chengjiang biotas are remarkably similar, preserving near identical proportions of average tissue types per genus. However, the Burgess shale has almost double the proportion of genera that are entirely soft as compared to the Chengjiang Biota, indicating that the classic Burgess Shale was the acme for soft tissue preservation. Constraining these biases aids the differentiation of evolutionary and taphonomic absences, which is vital to incorporating anatomical data into a coherent framework of character acquisition during the earliest evolution of animals.
  • How to make porphyry copper deposits
    • Abstract: Publication date: 1 January 2020Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 529Author(s): Cin-Ty A. Lee, Ming Tang Much of the world's economic copper resources are hosted in porphyry copper deposits (PCDs), shallow level magmatic intrusions associated mostly with thick (>45km) magmatic arcs, such as mature island arcs and continental arcs. However, a well-known, but unresolved paradox, is that arc magmas traversing thick crust, particularly in continental arcs, are generally depleted in Cu whereas in island arcs, where PCDs are less common, magmas become enriched in Cu. Here, we show that the formation of PCDs requires a complex sequence of intra-crustal magmatic processes, from the lower crust to the upper crust. PCDs form when the crust becomes thick (>45km) enough to crystallize garnet. Garnet fractionation depletes Fe from the magma, which drives sulfide segregation and removal of most of the magma's Cu into the lower crust, leaving only small amounts of Cu in the residual magma to make PCDs. However, because garnet is depleted in ferric iron, the remaining Fe in the magma becomes progressively oxidized, which eventually oxidizes sulfide to sulfate, thereby releasing sulfide bound Cu from the magma into solution. This auto-oxidation of the magma, made possible by deep-seated garnet fractionation, increases the ability of endogenic magmatic fluids to self-scavenge Cu from large volumes of otherwise Cu-poor magmas and then transport and concentrate Cu to the tops of magmatic bodies. Examination of the occurrence of PCDs in the central Andes shows that ore formation occurs when continental arcs reach their maximum thickness (>60km), just before the termination of magmatism.Graphical abstractIn continental arcs, where oceanic lithosphere subducts beneath continental lithosphere, intracrustal magmatic differentiation likely plays a dominant role in controlling the composition of magmas. Of particular interest are the occurrence of Cu-porphyry systems, which are typically found late in the “life-cycle” of an arc when arc crustal thickness is the greatest. During this time, deep-seated fractionation of garnet-rich cumulates, known as arclogites, results in oxidation of the residual magma, increasing the scavenging power of late stage magmatic fluids and the possibility of making Cu-porphyries.Graphical abstract for this article
  • Control of fluid pressures on the formation of listric normal faults
    • Abstract: Publication date: 1 January 2020Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 529Author(s): X.P. Yuan, Y.M. Leroy, B. Maillot Listric normal faults are widespread in the extension of the upper crust. Despite major advances in understanding the formation of listric faults through various experiments, the mechanical conditions that allow their formation are highly debated. In particular, Anderson's faulting theory predicts that newly formed normal faults are planar and are dipping at least at 45∘, and in practice, at 60–65∘ for most rock types. Here, we develop Limit Analysis to investigate the formation of a listric fault at the onset of slip linking a deep detachment to the topographic surface. We find that listric normal faults can occur in the brittle upper crust without appealing to viscous or ductile behaviours, nor to flexural stresses. The disequilibrium-compaction fluid pressures, typically observed in many sedimentary basins, are essential for the formation of listric faults. The fluid pressure is hydrostatic down to the fluid-retention depth ZFRD and sustains a higher gradient below this depth. Parametric studies show that the surface slope is also essential for the formation of listric faults even with a gently dipping surface slope (≤4∘), whereas a flat topographic surface leads to a simple Andersonian geometry at the onset of slip. The method is applied to two field examples in order to determine fluid overpressures that best match the fault shapes interpreted from seismic data. For the offshore Niger Delta, the simulated normal faults match the observed listric faults with a very shallow ZFRD = 0.5–0.75 km, and below ZFRD the fluid pressure has a lithostatic gradient, consistent with the observed fluid-pressure profiles. To reproduce a series of listric faults joining on one common low-angle detachment in the NW Gulf of Mexico, we demonstrate that a shallow ZFRD = 0.7–1.1 km is required, below which the fluid pressure increases to the lithostatic pressure on the detachment, in agreement with the fluid-pressure observations.
  • Late Cretaceous (99-69 Ma) basaltic intraplate volcanism on and around
           Zealandia: Tracing upper mantle geodynamics from Hikurangi Plateau
           collision to Gondwana breakup and beyond
    • Abstract: Publication date: 1 January 2020Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 529Author(s): K. Hoernle, C. Timm, F. Hauff, V. Tappenden, R. Werner, E.M. Jolis, N. Mortimer, S. Weaver, F. Riefstahl, K. Gohl Margins resulting from continental breakup are generally classified as volcanic (related to flood basalt volcanism from a starting plume head) or non-volcanic (caused by tectonic processes), but many margins (breakups) may actually be hybrids caused by a combination of volcanic and tectonic processes. It has been postulated that the collision of the Hikurangi Plateau with the Gondwana margin ∼110 Ma ago caused subduction to cease, followed by large-scale extension and ultimately breakoff of the Zealandia micro-continent from West Antarctica through seafloor spreading which started at ∼85 Ma. Here we report new geochemical (major and trace element and Sr-Nd-Pb-Hf isotope) data for Late Cretaceous (99-69 Ma) volcanism from Zealandia, which include the calc-alkalic, subduction-related Mount Somers (99-96 Ma) and four intraplate igneous provinces: 1) Hikurangi Seamount Province (99-88 Ma), 2) Marlborough Igneous Province (98-94 Ma), 3) Westland Igneous Province (92-69 Ma), and 4) Eastern Chatham Igneous Province (86-79 Ma). Each of the intraplate provinces forms mixing arrays on incompatible-element and isotope ratio plots between HIMU (requiring long-term high μ=238U/204Pb) and either a depleted (MORB-source) upper mantle (DM) component or enriched continental (EM) type component (located in the crust and/or upper mantle) or a mixture of both. St. Helena end member HIMU could be the common component in all four provinces. Considering the uniformity in composition of the HIMU end member despite the type of lithosphere (continental, oceanic, oceanic plateau) beneath the igneous provinces, we attribute this component to a sublithospheric source, located beneath all volcanic provinces, and thus most likely a mantle plume. We propose that the plume material rose beneath the active Gondwana margin and flowed along the subducting lithosphere beneath the Hikurangi Plateau and neighboring seafloor and through slab tears/windows beneath the Gondwana (later to become Zealandia) continental lithosphere. We conclude that both plateau collision, resulting in subduction cessation, and the opening of slab tears/windows, allowing hot asthenosphere and/or plume material to upwell to shallow depths, were important in causing the breakup of Zealandia from West Antarctica. Combined tectonic-volcanic processes are also likely to be responsible for causing breakup and the formation of other hybrid type margins.
  • Indian monsoon precipitation isotopes linked with high level cloud cover
           at local and regional scales
    • Abstract: Publication date: 1 January 2020Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 529Author(s): Di Wang, Lide Tian, Zhongyin Cai, Lili Shao, Xiaoyu Guo, Ran Tian, Yike Li, Yiliang Chen, Chuan Yuan Precipitation stable isotopes preserve historic changes of evaporation in the source regions and precipitation processes, therefore, they can be used to reveal regional hydrological cycle dynamics and paleoclimate reconstructions. In monsoon regions, strong inverse impacts of convection on precipitation isotope ratios, have created a debate regarding the interpretation of isotope records as local climate proxies. The proportions of stratiform to convective precipitation on water isotopes, together with the influence mechanisms on seasonal and interannual scales remain highly uncertain. To further address the influence of precipitation patterns on water isotopes, we used 10 yrs of precipitation isotope data from the southern Tibetan Plateau (TP) to explore the effects of large-scale cloud cover and local climate on precipitation isotopes. Correlation analysis performed between local precipitation δ18O values and different level cloud data, indicated significant negative correlations between precipitation isotopes and high level cloud cover on both seasonal and interannual time scales. This result suggests that high-level convection in the upper moisture transport stream is a main control on precipitation isotopes in the southern TP. The clear and coherent variations of precipitation isotopes with the Southern Oscillation Index and outgoing longwave radiation confirmed that strong convection activity in the moisture source region and during transport significantly depleted heavy isotopes in vapor, producing substantially decreased precipitation δ18O in the study region. These results agree with earlier findings of tree ring cellulose isotope records that correlate with cloud cover, but we emphasized the important role of larger-scale regional cloud cover. We also delineated different maximum correlation zones for seasonal and interannual time scales, likely due to different mechanisms. These findings further improve the interpretation of paleoisotope records from the Indian summer monsoon region.
  • Importance of permeability and deep channel network on the distribution of
           melt, fractionation of REE in abyssal peridotites, and U-series
           disequilibria in basalts beneath mid-ocean ridges: A numerical study using
           a 2D double-porosity model
    • Abstract: Publication date: 15 December 2019Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 528Author(s): Boda Liu, Yan Liang A plethora of observations have been made at mid-ocean ridges and mantle sections of ophiolites: presence of tabular replacive dunites, highly depleted LREE in residual abyssal peridotites, U-series disequilibria in fresh basalts, crustal thickness, and highly attenuated seismic and magnetotelluric structures beneath spreading centers. These independent observations can become more powerful if they are jointly analyzed in a self-consistent model. The difficulty for such a model is to resolve and evaluate the effect of fine scale petrologic feature such as dunite channels in a tectonic scale geodynamic model. Here we present a two-dimensional double-porosity ridge model that consists of low-porosity residual lherzolite and harzburgite matrix and high-porosity interconnected channel network. The geodynamic simulation features a spatially distributed channel network and anisotropic permeability that gradually develops as the upwelling mantle is deformed. We compute the porosity, melt and solid flow fields for several choices of channel distribution and permeability model. We use the calculated porosity distribution and velocity fields to model the variations of REE in residual mantle and U-series disequilibria in melts.The present study underscores the importance of deep channel networks and permeability model to the interpretation of first order geophysical and geochemical observations at mid-ocean ridge spreading centers. The anisotropic permeability of channels can enhance melt focusing by 60%, resulting in thicker crust. The attenuated seismic and magnetotelluric structures require a channel network starting from 60 km depth beneath the ridge axis. The depleted REE patterns in clinopyroxenes in residual abyssal peridotites are also consistent with melt extraction into channels starting from 60 km depth. Although deep channels are conducive to producing U-series disequilibria in eruptible melts, the present model still cannot explain the full ranges of the observed U series disequilibria data in MORB samples. Additional factors, processes, and models are discussed. And finally, we found that, within the uncertainty of the permeability, the porosity varies by three folds and the excess of 230Th varies by up to two folds.Graphical abstractGraphical abstract for this article
  • The redox budget of the Mariana subduction zone
    • Abstract: Publication date: 15 December 2019Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 528Author(s): Maryjo Brounce, Elizabeth Cottrell, Katherine A. Kelley Assessing the efficiency of material recycling at convergent margins is critical to constraining the impact of plate tectonic processes on the composition of surface and deep mantle reservoirs on geologic timescales. In particular, oceanic lithosphere bearing oxidized phases such as Fe-oxy-hydroxides, Fe-oxides, serpentine, carbonate, and sulfate minerals, subduct at convergent margins and the infiltration of aqueous fluids and sediment melts from the subducting slab into the mantle beneath arc volcanoes may thus carry oxidized forms of multi-valent elements (e.g., S, Fe, C) and lead to the generation of primitive arc melts that record elevated oxygen fugacities relative to mid-ocean ridge primitive melts. It is unclear, however, how efficiently aqueous fluids and silicate melts transport the oxidized signatures of any given subducting slab into the mantle wedge in a single subduction zone, and how much, if any, of these oxidized phases may be recycled into the deeper mantle. We present a mass balance of Fe3+, S2−, S6+, and C4+, as well as the O2 associated with these species, through the Mariana subduction zone to assess the efficiency of recycling oxidized materials in an end-member type subduction zone, where old oceanic lithosphere and a thick sediment package is subducted. To do this, we report Fe3+/ΣFe ratios of bulk sediments and altered oceanic crust recovered from ODP Site 801 in the western Pacific in order to constrain the bulk Fe3+/ΣFe ratio of the Pacific plate prior to subduction in the Mariana convergent margin. Site 801 sediments have Fe3+/ΣFe ratios>0.69 and the altered oceanic crust (801 Super Composite) has Fe3+/ΣFe of 0.51. Bulk Fe3+/ΣFe ratios of altered oceanic crust at Site 801 increase from 0.14 (pristine Jurassic-aged MORB glass) to 0.78 with increasing extent of alteration. We find that 68–95% of the O2 added to the subducting crust by sedimentation, in situ alteration of basaltic crust on the seafloor, and serpentinization of the mantle lithosphere is not output by Mariana arc or back-arc magmas. This result demonstrates that significant amounts of oxidized materials from Earth's surface are transported into the deeper mantle beyond subduction zones, despite the production of oxidized arc and back-arc basalts, and may contribute to elevated oxygen fugacities recorded by ocean island lavas such as Iceland and Hawaii. This oxygen cycle is likely to have been operating at least for the past 400–800 million years, and potentially for the duration of plate tectonics.
  • Astronomically forced climate evolution in a saline lake record of the
           middle Eocene to Oligocene, Jianghan Basin, China
    • Abstract: Publication date: 15 December 2019Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 528Author(s): Chunju Huang, Linda Hinnov Following the early Eocene climatic optimum some 50 million years ago, the marine paleoclimate record indicates that a long interval of global cooling took place, punctuated by a series of short-term warming reversals and culminating with the glaciation of Antarctica at the Eocene-Oligocene transition. We investigate a saline lake record from the Qianjiang and Jinghezhen formations, Jianghan Basin, China for the corresponding continental climate response. A 20.25 Myr long astronomical time scale is constructed based on 405-kyr orbital eccentricity cycle tuning of gamma ray (GR) series measured from the Qianjiang and Jinghezhen formations. The halite-rich interval between 41-40.4 Ma correlates well with the Middle Eocene Climate Optimum recorded in the deep-sea δ18O record, confirming predominantly halite deposition during the warming. Silt-mudstone-rich intervals were deposited during ∼2.4 Myr orbital eccentricity minima. The evidence indicates a history of alternating fresh water (humid/cool) and saline water (dry/hot) lake cycles paced by ∼100 kyr orbital eccentricity cycles. Analysis of GR series from the deepest part of the lake indicates strong astronomical forcing of halite deposition throughout the Middle-Late Eocene, and a shift to siliciclastic deposition and cooler climates at ∼33.9 Ma. Early Oligocene wet/cool climate in the Jianghan Basin signals East Asian summer monsoon intensification, and a reduction from northwest winter monsoon in response to Tibetan Plateau uplift. Northern Hemisphere summer insolation minima in the Middle-Late Eocene with temperatures that are 4.6 °C higher than present may provide an analogy for near-future climate change in Jianghan Basin.Graphical abstractGraphical abstract for this article
  • Synchrotron X-ray imaging in 4D: Multiscale failure and compaction
           localization in triaxially compressed porous limestone
    • Abstract: Publication date: 15 December 2019Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 528Author(s): Lingcao Huang, Patrick Baud, Benoit Cordonnier, François Renard, Lin Liu, Teng-fong Wong Understanding failure and strain localization in porous rock is of fundamental importance in rock physics. Confined compaction experiments on porous rocks have revealed a broad spectrum of failure modes. Techniques such as acoustic emission location and velocity tomography provide kinematic information on the partitioning of damage and localization of strain. Complementary observations on deformed samples using microscopy and microcomputed tomography (μCT) can also be used to image microscale damage and its distribution. Only by synthesizing such measurements on multiple scales could one infer the multiscale dynamics of compaction localization and similar rock failure phenomena. Located at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, the HADES rig allows direct in situ 3D imaging of the whole rock sample as it is triaxially compressed. The μCT data provide an integrated perspective of the spatiotemporal evolution of damage and strain localization on scales ranging from grain to continuum. We conducted an experiment on Leitha limestone (initial porosity of ∼22%) at a confining pressure of 20 MPa. With increasing differential stress, the sample strain hardened and two distinct yield points were identified in the stress-strain curve. The spatiotemporal evolution of local porosity and damage were analyzed at multiple scales. At a mesoscopic scale of 10 voxels (65 μm), the time-lapse μCT images reveal the strain partitioning associated with the first yield point and development of strain localization with the second. The latter development of five discrete compaction bands is the first unambiguous observation of such a bifurcation phenomenon in a porous carbonate rock, with geometric attributes comparable to compactions bands observed in porous sandstones. The μCT data on the voxel-scale elucidate in refined details the nucleation and propagation of discrete compaction bands under quasi-static loading, as well as the micromechanical processes, which in the past could only be inferred from a synthesis of kinematic observations of acoustic emissions activity and post-mortem observations of microstructure and damage.
  • An essential role for sulfur in sulfide-silicate melt partitioning of gold
           and magmatic gold transport at subduction settings
    • Abstract: Publication date: 15 December 2019Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 528Author(s): Yuan Li, Lu Feng, Ekaterina S. Kiseeva, Zenghao Gao, Haihao Guo, Zhixue Du, Fangyue Wang, Lanlan Shi Sulfide-silicate melt partitioning controls the behavior of gold in magmas, which is critical for understanding the Earth's deep gold cycle and formation of gold deposits. However, the mechanisms that control the sulfide-silicate melt partitioning of gold remain largely unknown. Here we present constraints from laboratory experiments on the partition coefficient of gold between monosulfide-solid-solution (MSS) and silicate melt (DAuMSS/SM) under conditions relevant for magmatism at subduction settings. Thirty-five experiments were performed in Au capsules to determine DAuMSS/SM at 950-1050 °C, 0.5-3 GPa, oxygen fugacity (fO2) of ∼FMQ-1.7 to FMQ+2.7 (FMQ refers to the fayalite-magnetite-quartz buffer), and sulfur fugacity (fS2) of −2.2 to 2.1, using a piston cylinder apparatus. The silicate melt composition changes from dry to hydrous andesite to rhyolite. The results obtained from electron microprobe and laser-ablation ICP-MS analyses show that the gold solubility in silicate melts ranges from 0.01 to 55.3 ppm and is strongly correlated with the melt sulfur content [S]melt at fO2 of ∼FMQ-1.7 to FMQ+1.6, which can be explained by the formation of complex Au-S species in the silicate melts. The gold solubility in MSS ranges from 130 to 2800 ppm, which is mainly controlled by fS2. DAuMSS/SM ranges from 10 to 14000 at fO2 of ∼FMQ-1.7 to FMQ+1.6, the large variation of which can be fully explained by combined [S]melt and fS2. Therefore, all of the parameters that can directly affect [S]melt and fS2, such as alkali metals, water, FeO, and fO2, can indirectly affect DAuMSS/SM. The mechanisms that control the sulfide-silicate melt partitioning of gold and the other chalcophile elements, such as Ni, Re, and Mo, differ significantly. This is because gold is dissolved mainly as Au-S species in the silicate melts, while the other chalcophile elements are dissolved mainly as metal oxides in the silicate melts. Applying the correlation between DAuMSS/SM and [S]melt to slab melting and arc magmatic differentiation under different redox conditions, we find that ancient to modern slab melts carry negligible to less than 25% of the slab gold to the subarc mantle; however, gold-enrichment can occur in MSS-saturated arc magmas that have differentiated under moderately oxidized conditions with fO2 between FMQ and FMQ+1.6, in particular if the magmatic crystallization follows a fractional crystallization model. We conclude that moderately oxidized magmas with high contents of alkali metals, sulfur, and water, owing to their low DAuMSS/SM and efficient magma-to-fluid transfer of gold and sulfur, have a high potential to form gold deposits.
  • Elasticity of akimotoite under the mantle conditions: Implications for
           multiple discontinuities and seismic anisotropies at the depth of
           ∼600–750 km in subduction zones
    • Abstract: Publication date: 15 December 2019Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 528Author(s): Shangqin Hao, Wenzhong Wang, Wangsheng Qian, Zhongqing Wu The equation of state and elastic properties of akimotoite at simultaneously high pressures and high temperatures are obtained using first-principles calculations based on the density functional theory (DFT). The calculated results agree with the available experimental data. Combining our results with the elastic data of other minerals, we estimated the VP, VS, and density contrasts caused by the akimotoite-related transitions. The velocity contrasts between akimotoite and bridgmanite are 4.6% and 8.3% for VP and VS, respectively, which are only about half of those between majorite and akimotoite. Moreover, because both the akimotoite-bridgmanite and majorite-akimotoite transitions have broad phase boundaries, these two phase transitions may not contribute to multiple discontinuities around ∼660 km depth in subduction zones as detected by seismic studies. Instead, the decomposition of pyrope into bridgmanite and corundum, which would occur in cold subduction zones with a sharp phase boundary and a large impedance contrast due to the inhibition of the pyroxene-garnet transformation at relatively low temperatures, could be a more reasonable explanation for the discontinuity at ∼700–750 km in subduction zones. Furthermore, the transformation from high-pressure clinopyroxene to akimotoite at the depth of ∼600 km can increase the VP, VS, and density by 10.1%, 14.8%, and 9.9%, respectively, indicating that the phase transition may account for the local discontinuity at ∼600 km in some subduction zones. In addition, the anisotropies of akimotoite are significantly higher than those of other major minerals at the base of the mantle transition zone and could be the origin of the seismic anisotropies detected in some subduction zones.
  • Slip partitioning along an idealized subduction plate boundary at deep
           slow slip conditions
    • Abstract: Publication date: 15 December 2019Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 528Author(s): Melodie E. French, Cailey B. Condit Below the base of many subduction seismogenic zones, the plate interface periodically slips at rates 1 to 2 orders of magnitude faster than tectonic plate velocities. A number of competing hypotheses exist to explain the mechanisms for these slow slip events (SSEs), but they remain incompletely tested because we do not know how deformation is partitioned across the lithologically complex plate boundary interface. We use the deepest exposure of the Arosa zone, a ∼520 m-thick exhumed subduction interface, as a case study to evaluate the partitioning of strain between lithologic units throughout the SSE cycle. We review and synthesize published constitutive relations for the five lithologic units present to express shear stress as a function of deformation rate. We use these results to predict (1) the shear stress across the plate boundary as a function of slip velocity and (2) the partitioning of deformation among the different lithologic units for SSE and aseismic creep velocities. We conduct this analysis for pore fluid pressures from hydrostatic to near-lithostatic. Our results show that, at pore fluid pressure close to hydrostatic, aseismic creep and SSE velocities occur by viscous deformation of calcareous and quartzose units. However, once the pore fluid pressure increases above 80% of lithostatic, plate boundary slip migrates from the calcareous and quartzose rocks during aseismic creep to frictional deformation of talc schist during slow slip. This result is insensitive to differences in the thicknesses of metasedimentary units that may be present along subduction plate boundaries and, therefore, may apply to subduction plate boundaries in general.
  • Experimental evidence for wall-rock pulverization during dynamic rupture
           at ultra-high pressure conditions
    • Abstract: Publication date: 15 December 2019Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 528Author(s): Sarah Incel, Alexandre Schubnel, Jörg Renner, Timm John, Loïc Labrousse, Nadège Hilairet, Helen Freeman, Yanbin Wang, François Renard, Bjørn Jamtveit The mechanisms triggering intermediate and deep earthquakes have puzzled geologists for several decades. There is still no consensus concerning whether such earthquakes are triggered by brittle or ductile mechanisms. We performed a deformation experiment on a synthetic lawsonite-bearing blueschist at a confining pressure of 3 GPa and temperatures from 583 to 1,073 K. After deformation, the recovered sample reveals conjugated shear fractures. Garnet crystals are dissected and displaced along these narrow faults and reveal micro- and nanostructures that resemble natural pulverization structures as well as partial amorphization. Formation of such structures at low confining pressures is known to require high tensile stresses and strain rates and is explained by the propagation of a dynamic shear rupture. The absence of shearing in the pulverized wall rock is taken as evidence that these structures pre-date the subsequent heat-producing frictional slip. In analogy to observations at low pressure we infer that the garnet structures in our experiment result from rapid propagation of a shear fracture even at the high pressure exerted on the sample and thus suggest that brittle deformation is possible at lower crustal to upper mantle depths.
  • Recycling reduced iron at the base of magmatic orogens
    • Abstract: Publication date: 15 December 2019Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 528Author(s): Ming Tang, Cin-Ty A. Lee, Gelu Costin, Heidi E. Höfer The Earth's continental crust is thought to originate from melting of the mantle, but it is too felsic and depleted in Fe relative to a primary mantle melt. This depletion in Fe is also commonly found in continental arc magmas and is often attributed to magnetite crystallization. However, Fe depletion in arc magmas coincides with an enrichment in ferric Fe relative to ferrous Fe, which cannot be explained by removal of a ferric Fe-rich mineral like magnetite. Deep-seated garnet pyroxenite arc cumulates (arclogites) have Fe-rich compositions that complement the Fe-depleted nature of the continental crust and continental arc magmas, and are likely candidates for the “missing link” between basaltic mantle magmas and the felsic continental crust. To test this suggestion, we present high precision in-situ Fe valence data for garnets in arclogites and reconstruct whole rock Fe valence states. We show that arclogites have low bulk Fe3+/∑Fe due to the low Fe3+/∑Fe of garnets and the lack of magnetite. At high pressures, garnet crystallizes, but magnetite does not, the former causing preferential accumulation of ferrous Fe at the base of magmatic orogens. Arclogite fractionation thus leads to the formation of oxidized felsic residual liquids (Fe3+/∑Fe of 0.2-0.4). Such oxidation may profoundly influence the speciation of magmatic volatiles as well as the oxidative weathering capacity of the crust.
  • Where does subduction initiate and cease' A global scale perspective
    • Abstract: Publication date: 15 December 2019Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 528Author(s): Martina M. Ulvrova, Nicolas Coltice, Simon Williams, Paul J. Tackley The thermo-mechanical evolution of the Earth's mantle is largely controlled by the dynamics of subduction zones, which connect the surface tectonic plates with the interior. However, little is known about the systematics of where subduction initiates and ceases within the framework of global plate motions and evolving continental configurations. Here, we investigate where new subduction zones preferentially form, and where they endure and cease using statistical analysis of large-scale simulations of mantle convection that feature self-consistent plate–like lithospheric behaviour and continental drift in the spherical annulus geometry. We juxtapose the results of numerical modelling with subduction histories retrieved from plate tectonic reconstruction models and from seismic tomography. Numerical models show that subduction initiation is largely controlled by the strength of the lithosphere and by the length of continental margins (for 2D models, the number of continental margins). Strong lithosphere favours subduction inception in the vicinity of the continents while for weak lithosphere the distribution of subduction initiation follows a random process distribution. Reconstructions suggest that subduction initiation and cessation on Earth is also not randomly distributed within the oceans, and more subduction zones cease in the vicinity of continental margins compared to subduction initiation. Our model results also suggest that intra-oceanic subduction initiation is more prevalent during times of supercontinent assembly (e.g. Pangea) compared to more recent continental dispersal, consistent with recent interpretations of relict slabs in seismic tomography.
  • The anatomy of uppermost mantle shear-wave speed anomalies in the western
           U.S. from surface-wave amplification
    • Abstract: Publication date: 15 December 2019Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 528Author(s): Lewis Schardong, Ana M.G. Ferreira, Andrea Berbellini, William Sturgeon We build SWUS-amp, a three-dimensional shear-wave speed model of the uppermost mantle of the western U.S. using Rayleigh wave amplification measurements in the period range of 35–125 s from teleseismic earthquakes. This represents the first-ever attempt to invert for velocity structures using Rayleigh wave amplification data alone. We use over 350,000 Rayleigh wave amplitude measurements, which are inverted using a Monte Carlo technique including uncertainty quantification. Being a local seismic observable, Rayleigh wave amplification is little affected by path-averaged effects and in principle has stronger depth resolution than classical seismic observables, such as surface wave dispersion data. SWUS-amp confirms shallow mantle heterogeneities found in previous models. In the top 100 km of the mantle, we observe low-velocity anomalies associated with Yellowstone and the Basin & Range province, as well as a fast-velocity anomaly underneath the Colorado Plateau, where a strong velocity gradient at its edges shows a drastic contrast with its surroundings. SWUS-amp also gives additional insights into the current state of the uppermost mantle in the region. We image a high-velocity anomaly beneath the high-topography Wyoming province with a maximum depth extent of about 150–170 km, which is shallower than in previous tomographic models, and resolves previous inconsistencies with geological information. Beneath the Snake River Plain, a finger-like low-velocity anomaly dips to the west, suggesting lateral flow in the region. Below about 150 km depth, SWUS-amp shows a north-south dichotomy in shear-wave speed structure, with the northern region showing mostly high-velocity anomalies, whereas the southern region shows low-velocity anomalies. This is consistent with the continuous subduction history of the western U.S. and with the recent extension and uplift of the southern region.
  • The top-down crystallisation of Mercury's core
    • Abstract: Publication date: 15 December 2019Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 528Author(s): A.L. Edgington, L. Vočadlo, L. Stixrude, I.G. Wood, D.P. Dobson, E. Holmström The regime governing the growth of Mercury's core is unknown, but the dynamics of core growth are vital to understanding the origin and properties of the planet's weak magnetic field. Here, we use advanced first-principles methods, which include a magnetic entropy contribution, to investigate the magnetic and thermo-elastic properties of liquid Fe-S-Si and of pure liquid iron at the conditions of Mercury's core. Our results support a ‘top-down’ evolution of the core, whereby solid iron-rich material crystallises at shallow depths and sinks. This process would likely result in a compositionally driven dynamo within a stably stratified uppermost liquid layer, providing an explanation for the observed properties of the weak magnetic field of Mercury.
  • Multi-stage exhumation history of the West Kunlun orogen and the
           amalgamation of the Tibetan Plateau
    • Abstract: Publication date: 15 December 2019Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 528Author(s): Guangwei Li, Mike Sandiford, Aimin Fang, Barry Kohn, Dan Sandiford, Bihong Fu, Tongliang Zhang, Yuanyuan Cao, Fei Chen The West Kunlun range, along the northwest margin of the Tibetan Plateau contains an important record of plateau formation and its northwards expansion. However, apart from the well-documented Miocene tectonism, its long-term history of exhumation/uplift remains enigmatic. Here we report an integrated low-temperature thermochronology study (apatite fission track and corresponding zircon (U-Th)/He) across a N-S transect through the West Kunlun range that reveals a prolonged low-temperature thermochronological record, characterized by a complex mosaic of thermal histories from the individual terrane elements during amalgamation to form the Tibetan Plateau. Our new data reveal two prominent cooling episodes during the Cretaceous and the Neogene, as well as several other more subdued and/or localized cooling episodes. Late Permo-Triassic cooling correlates with the accretion of the West Kunlun, Songpan-Ganzi and Tianshuihai terranes. Early Cretaceous cooling is considered as a response to collision between the Qiangtang and Lhasa terranes, while Late Cretaceous cooling relates to collision between the Karakorum terrane and Kohistan-Ladakh Arc. Partially preserved evidence for cooling in the Paleocene-Early Eocene and latest Oligocene-Miocene likely relates to the early stages of Indo-Asian collision. Our work confirms relatively low Neogene denudation rates of about 0.1-0.2 km/myr consistent with its arid, intraplate tectonic setting with deformation resulting from stress propagated via the surface plates and most likely sourced in the buoyancy of the plateau itself.Graphical abstractGraphical abstract for this article
  • A new perspective for the sediment provenance evolution of the middle
           Okinawa Trough since the last deglaciation based on integrated methods
    • Abstract: Publication date: 15 December 2019Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 528Author(s): Qian Li, Qiang Zhang, Guangxue Li, Qingsong Liu, Min-Te Chen, Jishang Xu, Jinhua Li The sediment in the Okinawa Trough (OT) preserves considerable information regarding land–ocean interactions and palaeoenvironmental evolution in the East Asian marginal seas. More specifically, the sediment provenance in the OT must be studied to recover this information. However, arguments about this remain, especially regarding the contribution of Yellow River (YR)-derived materials to middle OT depositions. To resolve this problem, we systematically investigated a gravity core (M063-05; 3.87 m in length, since the last deglaciation) collected from the middle OT by integrating environmental magnetism, diffuse reflectance spectroscopy, and transmission electron microscopy, as well as analyses of sediment grain size, clay mineralogy, and major elements. Our results indicated that sediment from the YR has contributed dominantly to this core since the last deglaciation. Limited contributions were also made from the Yangtze River and Taiwan rivers during the Holocene. Terrigenous inputs derived from the YR could be well characterized by the ratio of hematite/(hematite + goethite). Additionally, the Kuroshio Current (KC) activity since the last deglaciation, which is an important influencing factor for sediment provenance changes, was well deciphered using a new proxy RelDM (relative contribution of detrital ferrimagnetic minerals to bulk magnetic properties). Based on comprehensive analyses of our results and previously published studies, we hypothesised that, during the last deglaciation, abundant resuspended sediment from the palaeo-YR mouth was transported to the East China Sea (ECS) continental shelf edge and the northern OT through seaward bottom flow and further spread into the middle OT. Since the Middle to Late Holocene, the central mud area of the South Yellow Sea and the mud area southwest off Cheju Island may have become the main sources to provide YR-derived materials to the middle OT. However, the mud-area-derived sediment could only be restricted to a small range owing to the hindrance of the strengthened KC. This study provides a new perspective for sediment provenance evolution of the middle OT since the last deglaciation and proposes new methods and parameters for future research on palaeoenvironmental evolution in the ECS.
  • Mars in ice ages for ∼25% of post-Noachian geologic history
    • Abstract: Publication date: 15 December 2019Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 528Author(s): David K. Weiss Mars is currently a hyperarid, hypothermal desert planet, whose surface inventory of water is primarily confined to the north and south polar ice caps. Previous studies have shown that Mars has undergone massive shifts in its spin-axis obliquity (present-day is 25.2°) due to secular spin orbit resonances. During periods of higher obliquity, water-ice from the polar caps is mobilized to the mid-latitudes (∼35° obliquity) and even the equator (≥45° obliquity), where it is deposited as snow and accumulates over time to form thick regional surface ice sheets. Abundant evidence exists today for the remnants of these ice ages in the form of debris-covered glaciers and ice deposits, but due to the chaotic nature of orbital simulations beyond ∼20 Ma, it has remained unclear to what temporal extent Mars has experienced such ice ages. Recent developments have suggested that impact events which formed in martian surface ice deposits exhibit a distinctive double-layered ejecta morphology. In tandem with cratering statistics, this observation offers the potential to better our understanding of the history of ice ages on Mars. This work explores the timing of ice age events by evaluating the size-frequency distribution of craters forming in surface ice. Using Hartmann isochron model ages, this work shows that Mars has experienced mid-latitude ice ages for up to a cumulative ∼680 Myr out of the past 3.6 Ga, and experienced equatorial ice ages for up to a cumulative ∼250 Myr within the same time period. The results of this study indicate that Mars has experienced mid-latitude/equatorial ice age states for up to approximately 25% of its post-Noachian geologic history, emphasizing that much of the geologic history of Mars is dominated by the presence of widespread non-polar surface ice sheets.
  • Clustered BSRs: Evidence for gas hydrate-bearing turbidite complexes in
           folded regions, example from the Perdido Fold Belt, northern Gulf of
    • Abstract: Publication date: 15 December 2019Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 528Author(s): Alexey Portnov, Ann E. Cook, Derek E. Sawyer, Chen Yang, Jess I.T. Hillman, William F. Waite We describe previously undocumented but extensive gas hydrate accumulations in the mouth of Perdido Canyon in the northern Gulf of Mexico. The accumulations are located within central parts of structural domes (four-way closures) and are characterized by stacked, high-amplitude bottom simulating reflections (BSRs) that we call clustered BSRs. Seismic data from Perdido Canyon show two clustered BSRs associated with turbidite sequences within two dome folds formed from tectonic folding and salt diapir rise. The northwestern (NW) and southeastern (SE) clustered BSRs have aerial extents of ∼25 km2 and 50 km2, respectively. Well log data confirm gas hydrate occurs above the NW clustered BSR, within a 225 m-thick consistently high-resistivity interval that we interpret as gas hydrate in near-vertical fractures and turbidite sands. The SE dome is only drilled at the edge of the BSR; nevertheless, the well log data indicate that a 30 m-thick gas hydrate accumulation is present. Gas chromatographic logs in both domes suggest a gradual transition from predominantly microbial gas below the BSR (500–1000 m below seafloor (mbsf)) to thermogenic gas at 1000–2000 mbsf. Based on the well log data and seismic stratigraphic analysis, we find gas hydrate is concentrated in fractures in marine mud, as well as in the pores of submarine fan turbidities, where saturations reach as high as 75%. An estimate of the total gas hydrate-bound gas volume at standard temperature and pressure is between 0.04 and 0.17 trillion cubic meters (TCM) assuming average hydrate saturation of 5-20% in a ∼45 m thick turbidite sand unit above the Perdido Canyon BSR area. Measured BSR extent and gas volume estimates indicate that the NW and SE reservoirs are among the largest gas hydrate occurrences known in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Consequences of glacial cycles for magmatism and carbon transport at
           mid-ocean ridges
    • Abstract: Publication date: 15 December 2019Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 528Author(s): Nestor G. Cerpa, David W. Rees Jones, Richard F. Katz Magmatism and volcanism transfer carbon from the solid Earth into the climate system. This transfer may be modulated by the glacial/interglacial cycling of water between oceans and continental ice sheets, which alters the surface loading of the solid Earth. The consequent volcanic-carbon fluctuations have been proposed as a pacing mechanism for Pleistocene glacial cycles. This mechanism is dependant on the amplitude and lag of the mid-ocean ridge response to sea-level changes. Here we develop and analyse a new model for that response, eliminating some questionable assumptions made in previous work. Our model calculates the carbon flux, accounting for the thermodynamic effect of mantle carbon: reduction of the solidus temperature and a deeper onset of melting. We analyse models forced by idealised, periodic sea level and conclude that fluctuations in melting rate are the prime control on magma and carbon flux. We also discuss a model forced by a reconstruction of eustatic sea level over the past 800 kyr. It indicates that peak-to-trough variations of magma and carbon flux are up to about 20% and 10% of the mean flux, respectively. Peaks in mid-ocean ridge emissions lag peaks in sea-level forcing by less than about 20 kyr and the lag could well be shorter. The amplitude and lag are sensitive to the rate of melt segregation. The lag is much shorter than the time it takes for melt to travel vertically across the melting region.
  • Lack of late-accreted material as the origin of 182W excesses in the
           Archean mantle: Evidence from the Pilbara Craton, Western Australia
    • Abstract: Publication date: 15 December 2019Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 528Author(s): Gregory J. Archer, Gregory A. Brennecka, Philipp Gleißner, Andreas Stracke, Harry Becker, Thorsten Kleine We report 182W and 142Nd isotopic compositions, 187Re–187Os systematics, and abundances of highly siderophile elements (HSE: Re, Os, Ir, Ru, Rh, Pt, Pd, and Au) for a suite of komatiites and basalts from the ∼3.3Ga Ruth Well Formation and the ∼3.45Ga Warrawoona Group of the Pilbara Craton, Western Australia. The 182W compositions from all samples are indistinguishable from each other, and more radiogenic than modern bulk silicate Earth, with a mean μ182W value of +9.1±4.2 (2SD). By contrast, the 142Nd values for all samples are indistinguishable from each other and terrestrial standards, with a mean μ142Nd value of −1.6±3.2 (2SD). The 146Sm–142Nd and 187Re–187Os systematics are consistent with chondritic Sm/Nd and Re/Os ratios in the mantle source during the lifetime of 182Hf, and the observed 182W excesses therefore cannot be accounted for by early Hf–W fractionation by magma ocean processes, neither by silicate liquid-crystal fractionation nor by high P–T metal-silicate equilibration. The estimated abundances of HSE in the mantle source, however, are significantly lower than modern bulk silicate Earth, with only 51±9% (1SD) of modern bulk silicate Earth abundances. These results are consistent with a partial lack of late-accreted material within the Pilbara source at ∼3.3Ga to account for the 182W excesses. Further, widespread 182W excesses of similar magnitude in other Archean mantle-derived rocks worldwide strongly suggests that a common process, most likely incomplete addition of late-accreted material, was responsible. The apparent mismatch between late-accreted 182W–HSE systematics for some other localities likely reflects either the inherent difficulties associated with estimating source HSE abundances, and/or dissociation of W and HSE by mantle processes. Finally, the combined average 182W–HSE systematics of Archean samples indicate that the pre-late accretion BSE likely had a μ182W value similar to that of the lunar mantle, which strongly suggests post-giant impact Earth–Moon equilibration and indicates that the Moon formed after 182Hf extinction.
  • Lunar deep materials observed by Chang'e-4 rover
    • Abstract: Publication date: 15 December 2019Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 528Author(s): Sheng Gou, Kaichang Di, Zongyu Yue, Zhaoqin Liu, Zhiping He, Rui Xu, Honglei Lin, Bin Liu, Man Peng, Wenhui Wan, Yexin Wang, Jianzhong Liu China's Chang'e-4 spacecraft achieved the first ever soft-landing within the South Pole-Aitken (SPA) basin on the farside of the Moon. The Chang'e-4 rover, named Yutu-2, made in-situ spectral observations on lunar regolith and a rock fragment at 11 locations during a nominal three-month mission period. The lunar regolith has a relative high olivine/pyroxene ratio, with the pyroxene being chiefly Mg-rich Low-Ca pyroxene (LCP). The rock fragment has a similar Mg-rich composition to that of the regolith. According to the surrounding topographic and geologic context, though originating from the lower base of a differentiated melt pool cannot be excluded here, the rover observed regolith and rock fragment are very likely to be lunar mantle materials excavated from nearby Finsen crater.
  • Extreme geomagnetic reversal frequency during the Middle Cambrian as
           revealed by the magnetostratigraphy of the Khorbusuonka section
           (northeastern Siberia)
    • Abstract: Publication date: 15 December 2019Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 528Author(s): Yves Gallet, Vladimir Pavlov, Igor Korovnikov We present new magnetostratigraphic results obtained for the Drumian stage (504.5–500.5 Ma; Epoch 3/Middle Cambrian) from the Khorbusuonka sedimentary section in northeastern Siberia. They complement previous data that did not allow the determination of a reliable estimate of the geomagnetic reversal frequency during this time. Magnetization of the samples is carried by a mixture of magnetite and hematite in various proportions. Thermal demagnetization makes it possible to distinguish two magnetization components. The low unblocking temperature (20 reversals per Myr during the Drumian to ∼1.5 reversals per Myr during the Furongian/Upper Cambrian. Such a sharp decrease is consistent with a transition at a ∼1-Myr timescale, probably caused by threshold effects in core processes, between two geodynamo modes, one characterized by reversals occurring at frequencies ranging from 1 to 5 reversals per Myr, and the other marked by hyperactivity of the reversing process, with reversal rates>15 reversals per Myr.
  • Evaluating the planktic foraminiferal B/Ca proxy for application to deep
           time paleoceanography
    • Abstract: Publication date: 15 December 2019Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 528Author(s): Laura L. Haynes, Bärbel Hönisch, Kate Holland, Yair Rosenthal, Stephen M. Eggins The Cenozoic Era has been characterized by large perturbations to the oceanic carbon cycle and global climatic changes, but quantifying the magnitude and cause of these shifts is still subject to considerable uncertainty. The boron/calcium (B/Ca) ratio of fossil planktic foraminifera shells is a promising tool for reconstructing surface ocean carbonate chemistry during such events. Previous studies indicate that symbiont-bearing, planktic foraminiferal B/Ca depends on the [B(OH)4−/DIC] ratio of seawater and potentially, when combined with foraminiferal δ11B proxy reconstructions of B(OH)4−, an opportunity to reconstruct surface ocean DIC in the geologic past. There are, however, two barriers towards interpreting records from the pre-Pleistocene era: (1) changes in seawater major ion chemistry in the past might have affected foraminiferal B/Ca; and (2) modern foraminifera species show variable B/Ca calibration sensitivities that cannot be constrained in now-extinct species. Here we address these challenges with new experiments in which we have cultured modern, symbiont-bearing foraminifera Globigerinoides ruber (pink) and Trilobatus sacculifer in seawater with simulated early Cenozoic seawater chemistry (high [Ca], low [Mg], and low [B]T). We explore mechanisms that can account for the inter-species trends that are observed in foraminiferal B/Ca, and propose a framework that can be used to apply B/Ca calibrations to now-extinct species for reconstructing climate perturbations under varying seawater chemistries.
  • Two billion years of mantle evolution in sync with global tectonic cycles
    • Abstract: Publication date: 15 December 2019Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 528Author(s): Jamie A. Cutts, Matthijs A. Smit, Dirk Spengler, Ellen Kooijman, Herman L.M. van Roermund The continental crust and sub-continental lithospheric mantle (SCLM) are co-dependent reservoirs in terms of their geochemistry, tectonics, and long-term evolution. Obtaining insight into the mechanisms of lithosphere formation and differentiation requires robust constraint on the complex petrological history of mantle rocks. This has proven difficult as samples from the deep mantle are rare and, although many may have formed in the Archean, no such age has been obtained directly from mantle-derived silicate minerals. Lutetium-hafnium geochronology of garnet has the potential of overcoming this limitation. In this study, this technique was applied on fragments of the SCLM exposed in the Norwegian Caledonides. The chronologic record of these rocks is rich and extensive, yet it is difficult to interpret and is, in part, inconsistent. Our Lu–Hf results from supersilicic pyrope in dunite provide the first Archean internal isochron ages for mantle rocks. These ages are consistent with a period of juvenile crust formation worldwide and provide a record of deeply sourced mantle upwellings from>350 km depth. Results from fertile rock types indicate that melting and isotope re-equilibration occurred in sync with two Proterozoic supercontinent break-up events that are recorded in the Laurentian and Baltic lithospheres. Together, the results indicate that since its extraction during a period of rapid Archean crustal growth, the SCLM appears to have largely been at petro-physical and chemical stasis, with the exception of major episodes of continental break-up. The evolution of the SCLM is thus, highly punctuated and ultimately controlled by the Wilson cycle.
  • Seismic tomography of the uppermost inner core
    • Abstract: Publication date: 15 December 2019Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 528Author(s): Scott Burdick, Lauren Waszek, Vedran Lekić Seismic body wave and normal mode analyses have revealed that the inner core is solid, strongly anisotropic, and characterized by dramatic quasi-hemispherical differences in elastic structure and attenuation. Yet, despite these discoveries, the highly heterogeneous and incomplete data coverage of the inner core has impeded the development of tomographic models even at the longest wavelengths. Here, we use a probabilistic and transdimensional tomographic approach (TBI) on a newly expanded dataset of P-wave travel-times sensitive to the upper 120 km of the inner core. The TBI approach yields a ensemble of parsimonious models that simultaneously capture both the dominant hemispheric dichotomy and laterally abrupt velocity variations. Analysis of the model ensemble allows us to determine the locations of the hemisphere boundaries and rule out the presence of hemispheric dichotomy in anisotropy. Instead, we robustly map regional variations in anisotropy beneath Africa and the eastern Pacific, and detect variations at high latitudes suggesting that cylindrical anisotropy may not be adequate for describing the uppermost inner core.
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