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Journal Article

Continental flood basalts sample oxidized mantle sources


Nicklas,  Robert W.
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Day,  James M. D.
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Trumbull,  R.
3.1 Inorganic and Isotope Geochemistry, 3.0 Geochemistry, Departments, GFZ Publication Database, Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum;

Rangwalla,  Haider
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Kelly,  Savannah
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Nicklas, R. W., Day, J. M. D., Trumbull, R., Rangwalla, H., Kelly, S. (2024): Continental flood basalts sample oxidized mantle sources. - Lithos, 482-483, 107697.

Cite as: https://gfzpublic.gfz-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_5026502
Large igneous provinces (LIP) are vast (0.2 to >1 Mkm3) outpourings of basaltic lava and voluminous intrusions of magmas that have had important environmental consequences, in many cases leading to immense greenhouse gas release and mass extinctions. Magmatic oxygen fugacity (fO2) influences the chemistry of volcanic gases and is an important parameter for examining the links between LIP eruptions and environmental change. To constrain the fO2 of LIP magmas, we report olivine elemental chemistry of 399 crystals from a set of fifteen olivine-rich LIP samples, spanning in age from the Proterozoic (∼1270 Ma) to the Miocene (∼17 Ma). Concentrations of V in olivine are used to show that mafic LIP lavas erupted at +1.20 ± 0.95 ΔFMQ, on average more oxidized than mid ocean ridge basalts (MORB) at −0.28 ± 0.28 ΔFMQ. Mafic LIP magmas show a much larger range than MORB, however. Additionally, fO2 shows a negative correlation with parental magma MgO content, with high MgO lavas approaching the MORB range. This correlation is likely due to sampling of a heterogeneous mixture of oxidized and reduced lithologies, as also sampled by ocean island basalts (OIB). Correlation between fO2 and isotopic ratios such as 143Nd/144Nd demonstrates that the oxidized endmember is geochemically enriched, and may result from subduction recycling of oxidized surficial materials. The high fO2 of primitive LIP magmas demonstrate that they largely emitted oxidized gases during eruption, and furthermore, that LIP magmas associated with mass extinctions have similar magmatic fO2 to those that are not. Global plate tectonic position, magnitude and duration of LIP volcanic eruptions and magmatic degassing, as well as interaction with sedimentary basins in the crust - but not mantle source fO2 - are likely to be the critical factors for whether a LIP was associated with a mass extinction.