Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 164, Issue 1, pp 177–183 | Cite as

Oxygen isotope heterogeneity of the mantle beneath the Canary Islands: a discussion of the paper of Gurenko et al.

  • James M. D. DayEmail author
  • Colin G. Macpherson
  • David Lowry
  • D. Graham Pearson


Gurenko et al. (Contrib Mineral Petrol 162:349–363, 2011) report laser-assisted fluorination (LF) and secondary ionization mass spectrometry (SIMS) 18O/16O datasets for olivine grains from the Canary Islands of Gran Canaria, Tenerife, La Gomera, La Palma and El Hierro. As with prior studies of oxygen isotopes in Canary Island lavas (e.g. Thirlwall et al. Chem Geol 135:233–262, 1997; Day et al. Geology 37:555–558, 2009, Geochim Cosmochim Acta 74:6565–6589, 2010), these authors find variations in δ18Ool (~4.6–6.0 ‰) beyond that measured for mantle peridotite olivine (Mattey et al. Earth Planet Sci Lett 128:231–241, 1994) and interpret this variation to reflect contributions from pyroxenite-peridotite mantle sources. Furthermore, Gurenko et al. (Contrib Mineral Petrol 162:349–363, 2011) speculate that δ18Ool values for La Palma olivine grains measured by LF (Day et al. Geology 37:555–558, 2009, Geochim Cosmochim Acta 74:6565–6589, 2010) may be biased to low values due to the presence of altered silicate, possibly serpentine. The range in δ18Ool values for Canary Island lavas are of importance for constraining their origin. Gurenko et al. (Contrib Mineral Petrol 162:349–363, 2011) took a subset (39 SIMS analyses from 13 grains from a single El Hierro lava; EH4) of a more extensive dataset (321 SIMS analyses from 110 grains from 16 Canary Island lavas) to suggest that δ18Ool is weakly correlated (R 2 = 0.291) with the parameter used by Gurenko et al. (Earth Planet Sci Lett 277:514–524, 2009) to describe the estimated weight fraction of pyroxenite-derived melt (Xpx). With this relationship, end-member δ18O values for HIMU-peridotite (δ18O = 5.3 ± 0.3 ‰) and depleted pyroxenite (δ18O = 5.9 ± 0.3 ‰) were defined. Although the model proposed by Gurenko et al. (Contrib Mineral Petrol 162:349–363, 2011) implicates similar pyroxenite-peridotite mantle sources to those proposed by Day et al. (Geology 37:555–558, 2009, Geochim Cosmochim Acta 74:6565–6589, 2010) and Day and Hilton (Earth Planet Sci Lett 305:226–234, 2011), there are significant differences in the predicted δ18O values of end member components in the two models. In particular, Day et al. (Geochim Cosmochim Acta 74:6565–6589, 2010) proposed a mantle source for La Palma lavas with low-δ18O (<5 ‰), rather than higher-δ18O (c.f. the HIMU-peridotite composition of Gurenko et al. in Contrib Mineral Petrol 162:349–363, 2011). Here we question the approach of using weakly correlated variations in δ18Ool and the Xpx parameter to define mantle source oxygen isotope compositions, and provide examples of why this approach appears flawed. We also provide reasons why the LF datasets previously published for Canary Island lavas remain robust and discuss why LF and SIMS data may provide complementary information on oxygen isotope variations in ocean island basalts (OIB), despite unresolved small-scale uncertainties associated with both techniques.


Ocean island basalt Canary Islands Oxygen isotopes Laser fluorination SIMS Mantle heterogeneity 



This work was performed with support from the National Science Foundation (EAR-1116089) and The San Diego Foundation (C-2011-00204). We thank C. Harris, two anonymous reviewers and Editor J. Hoefs for their constructive comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • James M. D. Day
    • 1
    Email author
  • Colin G. Macpherson
    • 2
  • David Lowry
    • 3
  • D. Graham Pearson
    • 4
  1. 1.Geosciences Research DivisionScripps Institution of OceanographyLa JollaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of DurhamDurhamUK
  3. 3.Department of Earth Sciences, Royal HollowayUniversity of LondonSurreyUK
  4. 4.Department of Earth and Atmospheric SciencesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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