EGU24-21046, updated on 11 Mar 2024
EGU General Assembly 2024
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

On the iron isotope systematics of subducted oceanic gabbros

Alex Churchus1, Oliver Nebel1, Yona Jacobsen1,2, Xueying Wang1, Massimo Raveggi1, Marianne Richter1,3, and Roland Maas4
Alex Churchus et al.
  • 1School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment, Monash University, VIC Clayton 3800, Australia
  • 2Health and Safety, CX Hub, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, VIC Burwood 3125, Australia
  • 3Iinstituto Andaluz de Ciencias de la Tierra, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas-Universidad de Granada, Avenida de las Palmeras 4, 18100, Armilla, Spain
  • 4School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3010, Australia

Oceanic gabbros represent a voluminous part of oceanic crust and are to a large degree cumulative mineral assemblage composed of olivine-pyroxene-feldspar and iron oxides. As such, oceanic gabbros represent a large Fe isotope reservoir in the global Fe cycle. During recycling into the mantle, oceanic gabbros undergo metamorphic reactions but are often considered a small contributor to the subduction component in arcs (e.g., slab-derived fluids) due to their relatively dry and refractory nature. Instead, fluids released from serpentinite as a result of slab devolatisation are considered to be the main source of deep mantle wedge fluids and considerably contribute to arc-lava chemistry and the redox state of metasomatised mantle wedge. However, serpentinite-derived fluids will, by default, pass through overlying gabbroic sequences when ascending to the mantle wedge with a potentially considerable contribution to the Fe isotope budget of the mantle wedge and arc lavas.

Here, we investigate the Fe isotopic signature of gabbroic rocks exposed on the seafloor along the Southwest Indian Ridge and collected during IODP scientific ocean drilling expedition leg 118 from the Atlantis Bank Gabbro Massif (IODP Site 735B). Site 735B is composed of intrusive lower crustal and upper mantle rock exhumed to the surface by detachment faulting. Iron was chemically leached, simulating passing fluids, with both leachate and residue analysed for their Fe isotope composition. Our samples display large variation in isotopic composition ranging from mantle to extreme values of δ57Fe = -0.07 to +0.68‰ (relative to IRMM-524a) for the leachate, and MORB-like δ57Fe = -0.1 to +0.21‰, for the residue, respectively. Our results imply that the leached isotopically heavier Fe from oceanic gabbros can be a significant contributor to the Fe isotope composition of the subduction component in arcs and counterbalance the light Fe isotopes derived from serpentinites. Considering the oxidation state of Fe in magnetite, this may further add to the oxidized nature of arc lavas. If such fluids remain in the mantle, they can potentially be a very heavy Fe isotope reservoir, which may explain some exotic signatures observed in ocean island lavas or transition zone diamond inclusions. Gabbroic residues deprived of any such leachate resembles Fe isotope signatures of the upper mantle and MORB and thus does not change the Fe isotope composition of the mantle significantly after subduction. 

How to cite: Churchus, A., Nebel, O., Jacobsen, Y., Wang, X., Raveggi, M., Richter, M., and Maas, R.: On the iron isotope systematics of subducted oceanic gabbros, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-21046,, 2024.