Iron isotope fractionation in subduction-related high-pressure metabasites (Ile de Groix, France)

  • Afifé El Korh
  • Béatrice Luais
  • Etienne Deloule
  • Damien Cividini
Original Paper


Characterisation of mass transfer during subduction is fundamental to understand the origin of compositional heterogeneities in the upper mantle. Fe isotopes were measured in high-pressure/low-temperature metabasites (blueschists, eclogites and retrograde greenschists) from the Ile de Groix (France), a Variscan high-pressure terrane, to determine if the subducted oceanic crust contributes to mantle Fe isotope heterogeneities. The metabasites have δ56Fe values of +0.16 to +0.33‰, which are heavier than typical values of MORB and OIB, indicating that their basaltic protolith derives from a heavy-Fe mantle source. The δ56Fe correlates well with Y/Nb and (La/Sm)PM ratios, which commonly fractionate during magmatic processes, highlighting variations in the magmatic protolith composition. In addition, the shift of δ56Fe by +0.06 to 0.10‰ compared to basalts may reflect hydrothermal alteration prior to subduction. The δ56Fe decrease from blueschists (+0.19 ± 0.03 to +0.33 ± 0.01‰) to eclogites (+0.16 ± 0.02 to +0.18 ± 0.03‰) reflects small variations in the protolith composition, rather than Fe fractionation during metamorphism: newly-formed Fe-rich minerals allowed preserving bulk rock Fe compositions during metamorphic reactions and hampered any Fe isotope fractionation. Greenschists have δ56Fe values (+0.17 ± 0.01 to +0.27 ± 0.02‰) similar to high-pressure rocks. Hence, metasomatism related to fluids derived from the subducted hydrothermally altered metabasites might only have a limited effect on mantle Fe isotope composition under subsolidus conditions, owing to the large stability of Fe-rich minerals and low mobility of Fe. Subsequent melting of the heavy-Fe metabasites at deeper levels is expected to generate mantle Fe isotope heterogeneities.


Fe isotopes Metabasites Subduction HP–LT metamorphism Blueschists Eclogites Greenschists Basaltic protoliths 



This study benefited from constructive reviews of Oliver Nebel and Paolo Sossi. The editorial work of Othmar Müntener was greatly appreciated. Thanks to Stephanie Hayman for having read the English text. The research was supported by project P300P2_147749 of the Swiss National Science Foundation, and benefited from fundings from the Observatoire de la Terre et de l’Environnement en Lorraine (OTELo-CNRS) and the TelluS-SYSTER program from the Institut National des Sciences de l’Univers (INSU).

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Afifé El Korh
    • 1
    • 2
  • Béatrice Luais
    • 1
  • Etienne Deloule
    • 1
  • Damien Cividini
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre de Recherches Pétrographiques et Géochimiques (CRPG)UMR 7358 CNRS-Université de LorraineVandœuvre-Lès-Nancy CedexFrance
  2. 2.Unit of Earth Sciences, Department of GeosciencesUniversity of FribourgFribourgSwitzerland

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