Insights into the nature of plume-ridge interaction and outflux of H2O from the Galápagos Spreading Centre

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Matthew Lloyd Morgan Gleeson , Sally Gibson 


The flow of high-temperature and compositionally-enriched material between mantle plumes and nearby spreading centres influences up to 30% of the global mid-ocean ridge system and represents a significant, but currently unconstrained, flux of volatiles out of the mantle. Here we present new analyses of H2O, F, Cl and S in basaltic glass chips from an archetypal region of plume-ridge interaction, the Galápagos Spreading Centre (GSC). Our dataset includes samples from the eastern GSC, on ridge segments that are strongly influenced by the adjacent Galápagos mantle plume, and complements published analyses of volatiles largely from the western GSC. We use forward models of mantle melting to investigate the role of solid and melt-phase transport from a lithologically heterogeneous (peridotite-pyroxenite) mantle in plume-ridge interaction along approximately 1000 km of the GSC. Our results indicate that the observed geochemical and geophysical variations cannot be recreated by models which only involve solid-state transfer of material between the Galápagos mantle plume and the GSC. Instead, we show that the geochemical and geophysical data from the GSC are well-matched by models that incorporate channelised flow of volatile-rich melts formed at high-pressures (>3 GPa) in the Galápagos plume stem to the GSC. In addition, our new models demonstrate that channelised flow of enriched, plume-derived melt can account for up to ~60% of the H2O outgassed from regions of the GSC which are most strongly influenced by the Galápagos mantle plume.



Earth Sciences, Geochemistry, Other Earth Sciences, Physical Sciences and Mathematics, Volcanology


Galapagos, Plume-ridge interaction, Channelised flow


Published: 2021-02-18 13:24

Last Updated: 2021-10-23 16:58

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CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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Data Availability (Reason not available):
Data collected in this study, and the code used to analyse the data, can be found through the Cardiff University institutional repository (ORCA; Code and data are also made available via 10.5281/zenodo.4545901.

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