Highly siderophile element abundances in Eoarchean komatiite and basalt protoliths

  • Elizabeth A. FrankEmail author
  • Wolfgang D. Maier
  • Stephen J. MojzsisEmail author
Original Paper


Plume-derived, Mg-rich, volcanic rocks (komatiites, high-Mg basalts, and their metamorphic equivalents) can record secular changes in the highly siderophile element (HSE) abundances of mantle sources. An apparent secular time-dependent enrichment trend in HSE abundances from Paleoarchean to Paleoproterozoic mantle-derived rocks could represent the protracted homogenization of a Late Veneer chondritic contaminant into the pre-Late Veneer komatiite source. To search for a possible time dependence of a late accretion signature in the Eoarchean mantle, we report new data from rare >3700 Myr-old mafic and ultramafic schists locked in supracrustal belts from the Inukjuak domain (Québec, Canada) and the Akilia association (West Greenland). Our analysis shows that some of these experienced HSE mobility and/or include a cumulate component (Touboul et al. in Chem Geol 383:63–75, 2014), whereas several of the oldest samples show some of the most depleted HSE abundances measured for rocks of this composition. We consider these new data for the oldest documented rocks of komatiite protolith in light of the Late Veneer hypothesis.


Late Veneer Komatiites Highly siderophile elements Platinum group elements Mantle evolution Eoarchean 



We have benefitted from discussions and debates on the topics presented herein with (in alphabetical order): N. Arndt, W. Bottke, R. Brasser, S. Marchi, A. Morbidelli, R. Walker, S. Werner, and M. Willbold. We further thank N. Arndt for his constructive comments on an earlier version of this manuscript. We also thank S.-J. Barnes and D. Savard at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi for performing the HSE analyses. E.A.F. was supported by a NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship (NESSF), “Exploring the Darkest of the Dark Ages,” and the Zonta International Amelia Earhart Fellowship. S.J.M. acknowledges support from the NASA Lunar Science Institute through the Center for Lunar Origin and Evolution (CLOE) and the NASA Exobiology Program. A substantial portion of this manuscript was completed while S.J.M. held a Distinguished Research Professorship in Budapest at the Research Center for Astronomy and Earth Sciences of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. This is a contribution of the Collaborative for Research in Origins (CRiO), which is funded by the John Templeton Foundation.

Supplementary material

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geological Sciences, NASA Lunar Science Institute, Center for Lunar Origin and Evolution (CLOE)University of ColoradoBoulderUSA
  2. 2.School of Earth and Ocean SciencesCardiff UniversityCardiffUK
  3. 3.Institute for Geological and Geochemical ResearchHungarian Academy of SciencesBudapestHungary
  4. 4.Department of Terrestrial MagnetismCarnegie Institution of WashingtonWashingtonUSA

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