Fluxing of mantle carbon as a physical agent for metallogenic fertilization of the crust

Blanks, D. E., Holwell, D. A., Fiorentini, M. L., Moroni, M., Giuliani, A., Tassara, S., González-Jiménez, J. M., Boyce, A. J. and Ferrari, E. (2020) Fluxing of mantle carbon as a physical agent for metallogenic fertilization of the crust. Nature Communications, 11(1), 4342. (doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-18157-6) (PMID:32859892) (PMCID:PMC7455710)

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Abstract

Magmatic systems play a crucial role in enriching the crust with volatiles and elements that reside primarily within the Earth’s mantle, including economically important metals like nickel, copper and platinum-group elements. However, transport of these metals within silicate magmas primarily occurs within dense sulfide liquids, which tend to coalesce, settle and not be efficiently transported in ascending magmas. Here we show textural observations, backed up with carbon and oxygen isotope data, which indicate an intimate association between mantle-derived carbonates and sulfides in some mafic-ultramafic magmatic systems emplaced at the base of the continental crust. We propose that carbon, as a buoyant supercritical CO2 fluid, might be a covert agent aiding and promoting the physical transport of sulfides across the mantle-crust transition. This may be a common but cryptic mechanism that facilitates cycling of volatiles and metals from the mantle to the lower-to-mid continental crust, which leaves little footprint behind by the time magmas reach the Earth’s surface.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was financially supported by NERC Minerals Security of Supply (SOS) grant NE/M010848/1 Tellurium and Selenium Cycling and Supply (TeaSe) awarded to the University of Leicester. D.E.B.’s PhD is funded by Consolidated Nickel Mines and the University of Leicester. The study was also funded by the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Core to Crust Fluid Systems (CE11E0070).
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Boyce, Professor Adrian
Authors: Blanks, D. E., Holwell, D. A., Fiorentini, M. L., Moroni, M., Giuliani, A., Tassara, S., González-Jiménez, J. M., Boyce, A. J., and Ferrari, E.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Nature Communications
Publisher:Nature Research
ISSN:2041-1723
ISSN (Online):2041-1723
Copyright Holders:Copyright © The Author(s) 2020
First Published:First published in Nature Communications 11(1):4342
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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