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Degassing systematics of Highly Siderophile Elements from magmas: New constrains on the convecting mantle, and the origins of global HSE anomalies in sedimentary rocks


Highly Siderophile Element (HSE: Os, Ir, Ru, Rh, Pt, Pd, Au & Re) studies in oceanic basalts provide vital information on the partial melting regime, constrains on the different mantle end-member compositions, and hence on mantle geodynamics. However, it has been recently showed that Re could be lost by volatilisation upon eruption of the basalts. For the other HSE, the only evidence (indirect) of their potential losses via degassing resides in the high Ir and Au contents of volcanic emissions and airborne particles.

This project aims to obtain quantitative constrains on the volatile loss of HSE during magma degassing in order to better constrain the mantle composition, the degassing flux of HSE to atmosphere and determine whether global HSE anomalies in the sedimentary record result from meteorite impacts or large-scale volcanic emissions. These objectives will be achieved by coupling studies of HSE and volatile elements in oceanic basalts from the Lau Basin, Iceland and the East Pacific Rise. Analyses o f melt inclusions and basalt glasses will provide the pre-eruptive and post-eruptive composition of the lavas.

HSE will be determined by ultra-sensitive inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) after ultra-low blank separation techniques. Volatile elements (CO2, H2O, d13C and d18O) will be analysed using a volatile extraction line coupled with ICP-MS, secondary ion mass spectrometry and Fourier transform Infra-Red Spectroscopy. This project will promote research excellence and the innovative and multidisciplinary aspect of European research by undertaking the first study ever done on the effects of degassing on HSE systematics.

The development of new, ultra-low blank HSE separation coupled with for the first time micro-drilling techniques applied to the analysis of HSE will advance analytical techniques in HSE chemistry, directly applicable for other low-level HSE geochemical studies of the Earth, environmental and medical (anti-cancer drugs) sciences.

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University Office, Old Elvet
United Kingdom

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