EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Constraining Mantle Source Conditions at Iceland and Adjoining Ridges Using Markov Chain Monte Carlo Inversion

Eric Brown1 and Charles Lesher1,2
Eric Brown and Charles Lesher
  • 1Aarhus University, Denmark
  • 2University of California, Davis, USA

Basalts are generated by adiabatic decompression melting of the upper mantle, and thus provide spatial and temporal records of the thermal, compositional, and dynamical conditions of their source regions. Uniquely constraining these factors through the lens of melting is challenging given the complexity of the melting process. To limit the a priori assumptions typically required for forward modeling of mantle melting, and to assess the robustness of the modeling results, we combine a Markov chain Monte Carlo sampling method with the forward melting model REEBOX PRO [1] simulating adiabatic decompression melting of lithologically heterogeneous mantle. Using this method, we invert for mantle potential temperature (Tp), lithologic trace element and isotopic composition and abundance, and melt productivity together with a robust evaluation of the uncertainty in these system properties. We have applied this new methodology to constrain melting beneath the Reykjanes Peninsula (RP) of Iceland [2] and here extend the approach to Iceland’s Northern Volcanic Zone (NVZ). We consider melting of a heterogeneous mantle source involving depleted peridotite and pyroxenite lithologies, e.g., KG1, MIX1G and G2 pyroxenites. Best-fit model sources for Iceland basalts contain more than 90% depleted peridotite and less than 10% pyroxenite with Tp ~125-200 °C above ambient mantle. The trace element and Pb and Nd isotope composition of the depleted source beneath the Reykjanes Peninsula is similar to DMM [3], whereas depleted mantle for the NVZ is isotopically distinct and more trace element enriched. Conversely, inverted pyroxenite trace element compositions are similar for RP and NVZ and are more enriched than previously inferred, despite marked differences in their Pb and Nd isotope composition. We use these new constraints on the Iceland source to investigate their relative importance in basalt genesis along the adjoining Reykjanes and Kolbeinsey Ridges. We find that the proportion of pyroxenite diminishes southward along Reykjanes Ridge and is seemingly absent to the north along the Kolbeinsey Ridge. Moreover, abundances of inverted RP and NVZ depleted mantle also diminish away from Iceland and give way to a common depleted source for the North Atlantic. These findings further illuminate the along-strike variability in source composition along the North Atlantic ridge system influenced by the Iceland melting anomaly, while reconciling geochemical, geophysical and petrologic constraints required to rigorously test plume vs. non-plume models.

[1] Brown & Lesher (2016); G^3, v. 17, p. 3929-2968

[2] Brown et al. (2020); EPSL, v. 532, 116007

[3] Workman and Hart (2005); EPSL, v.231, p. 53-72

How to cite: Brown, E. and Lesher, C.: Constraining Mantle Source Conditions at Iceland and Adjoining Ridges Using Markov Chain Monte Carlo Inversion, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-22469,, 2020

This abstract will not be presented.