Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 98, Issue 1, pp 72–80 | Cite as

Elemental and isotopic variations in subduction related basalts: evidence for a three component model

  • R. M. Ellam
  • C. J. Hawkesworth


Subduction related basalts display wide ranges in large ion lithophile element ratios (e.g., Rb/Ba and Rb/ Sr) which are unlikely to result from mixing, but suggest a role for small degree partial melting of a relatively Rb-poor mantle wedge source. However, these variations do not correlate with other trace element criteria, such as the depletions of high field strength elements (HFSE) and light rare earth elements (LREE) relative to the LILE, which characterise subduction related magmatism. Integration of radiogenic isotope and trace element data demonstrates that the elemental enrichment cannot be simply related to two component mixtures inferred from isotopic variations. Thus a minimum of three components is required to describe the geochemistry of subduction zone basalts. Two are subduction related: high Sr/Nd material is derived from the dehydration of subducted basaltic ocean crust, and a low Sr/Nd component is thought to be from subducted terrigenous sediment. The third component is in the mantle wedge, it is usually similar to the source of MORB, particularly in its isotopic composition. However, in some cases, notably continental areas, more enriched mantle wedge material with relatively high 87Sr/86Sr, low 143Nd/144Nd and elevated incompatible trace element contents may be involved Mixing of these three components is capable of producing both the entire range of Sr, Nd and Pb isotope signatures observed in destructive margin basalts, and their distinctive trace element compositions. The isotope differences between Atlantic and Pacific island arc basalts are attributed to the isotope compositions of sediments in the two oceans.


Subduction Mantle Wedge High Field Strength Element Light Rare Earth Element Subduction Related Magmatism 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. M. Ellam
    • 1
  • C. J. Hawkesworth
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesThe Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK

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