Triple oxygen isotope constraints on the origin of ocean island basalts

Document Type


Publication Date



© 2019, Science Press and Institute of Geochemistry, CAS and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature. Understanding the origin of ocean island basalts (OIB) has important bearings on Earth’s deep mantle. Although it is widely accepted that subducted oceanic crust, as a consequence of plate tectonics, contributes material to OIB’s formation, its exact fraction in OIB’s mantle source remains ambiguous largely due to uncertainties associated with existing geochemical proxies. Here we show, through theoretical calculation, that unlike many known proxies, triple oxygen isotope compositions (i.e. Δ17O) in olivine samples are not affected by crystallization and partial melting. This unique feature, therefore, allows olivine Δ17O values to identify subducted oceanic crusts in OIB’s mantle source. Furthermore, the fractions of subducted ocean sediments and hydrothermally altered oceanic crust in OIB’s mantle source can be quantified using their characteristic Δ17O values. Based on published Δ17O data, we estimated the fraction of subducted oceanic crust to be as high as 22.3% in certain OIB, but the affected region in the respective mantle plume is likely to be limited.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

Acta Geochimica

First Page


Last Page


This document is currently not available here.