Ocean Ridges

Ocean Islands

Oceanic Mantle Evolution

✦ Sampling pillow tubes and lava buds on the ocean floor with the arm of the manned submersible, Alvin. (photo: Steve Shirey)

The Earth’s mid-ocean ridge system is the largest active volcanic chain. It encircles the globe, erupts under water and is continuously active. The linearly upwelling mantle which feeds it is derived from shallower depths (<300 km) than the more centrally upwelling mantle that feeds melting at ocean islands and oceanic plateaus. Field and geochemical work on modern oceanic rocks gives a view of the pre-continental Earth and provides an analog for the Hadean and Archean periods.

Relevant Publications

Jackson, M. G., Shirey, S. B., Hauri, E. H., Kurz, M. D., & Rizo, H. (2016). Peridotite xenoliths from the Polynesian Austral and Samoa hotspots: Implications for the destruction of ancient 187Os and 142Nd isotopic domains and the preservation of Hadean 129Xe in the modern convecting mantle. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 185, 21–43. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2016.02.011

Jackson, M. G., & Shirey, S. B. (2011). Re–Os isotope systematics in Samoan shield lavas and the use of Os-isotopes in olivine phenocrysts to determine primary magmatic compositions. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 312, 91–101. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2011.09.046

Foustoukos, D.I., Bizimis, M., Frisby, C., and Shirey, S.B. (2015) Redox controls on Ni–Fe–PGE mineralization and Re/Os fractionation during serpentinization of abyssal peridotite: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, v. 150, 11–25. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2014.11.025

Warren, J. M., & Shirey, S. B. (2012). Lead and osmium isotopic constraints on the oceanic mantle from single abyssal peridotite sulfides. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 359–360, 279–293. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2012.09.055

Widom, E., Hoernle, K. A., Shirey, S. B., & Schmincke, H. U. (1999). Os isotope systematics in the Canary Islands and Madeira: Lithospheric contamination and mantle plume signatures. Journal of Petrology, 40, 279–296. http://doi.org/10.1093/petroj/40.2.279

Widom, E., & Shirey, S. B. (1996). Os isotope systematics in the Azores: implications for mantle plume sources. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 142, 451–465. http://doi.org/10.1016/0012-821X(96)00111-2

Walker, R. J., Echeverria, L. M., Shirey, S. B., & Horan, M. F. (1991). Re — Os isotopic constraints on the origin of volcanic rocks, Gorgona Island, Colombia: Os isotopic evidence for ancient heterogeneities in the mantle. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 107, 150–162. http://doi.org/10.1007/BF00310704

Shirey, S. B., Bender, J. F., & Langmuir, C. H. (1987). Three-component isotopic heterogeneity near the Oceanographer transform, Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Nature, 325, 217–223. http://doi.org/10.1038/325217a0