Cooling-induced fractionation of mantle Li isotopes from the ultraslow-spreading Gakkel Ridge

Document Type


Publication Date



Li isotopic compositions of magmatic rocks have gained considerable attention recently as probes of mantle-scale processes. However, the concentrations and isotopic composition of Li in mantle minerals from mid-ocean ridges remain relatively unconstrained. This is largely because of the general presence of seawater alteration in abyssal peridotites. Lithium elemental and isotopic compositions for mineral separates of coexisting olivine, clinopyroxene, orthopyroxene and bulk rocks of serpentine-free Gakkel Ridge peridotites were investigated. Bulk rocks have Li contents of 1.6 to 2.7ppm and δ7Li values of 3 to 5%, which fall within the range of reported normal pristine "MORB mantle" values. Lithium concentrations vary in the order cpx (2.1-4.7ppm)>opx (0.9-1.7ppm)≥olivine (0.4-0.9ppm), the opposite found in "equilibrated" mantle peridotite xenoliths (Seitz and Woodland, 2000). The Li isotopic compositions indicate a systematic mineral variation with δ7Liolivine (7.14%-15.09%)>δ7Liopx (1.81%-3.66%)>δ7Licpx (-2.43%--0.39%). The δ7Li values of cpx are negatively correlated with their Li concentrations with the lightest value for the most enriched cpx grains. There is a first order negative linear correlation between Δolivine-cpx (δ7Liolivine-δ7Licpx) and ol/cpxD (Liolivine/Licpx).Numerical simulations indicate that the observed systematic inter-mineral variations of Li concentrations and isotopic compositions could be explained by a cooling driven diffusive redistribution between minerals in a closed system if there is a temperature dependent partitioning of Li between olivine and clinopyroxene. The studied Gakkel Ridge abyssal peridotites may alternatively have cooled under a variable cooling rate with a rapid cooling before the Li system was closed, which is less likely given the tectonic setting. Our calculations confirm that Li systematics in minerals, especially in coexisting mineral phases could potentially be used as a mantle geospeedometer, even for slowly cooled mantle rocks. © 2010.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

Earth and Planetary Science Letters

First Page


Last Page


This document is currently not available here.