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Starkey N.A.,Open University Milton Keynes | Jackson C.R.M.,Carnegie Institution of Washington | Greenwood R.C.,Open University Milton Keynes | Parman S.,Brown University | And 6 more authors.
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta | Year: 2016

Measurements of Xe isotope ratios in ocean island basalts (OIB) suggest that Earth's mantle accreted heterogeneously, and that compositional remnants of accretion are sampled by modern, high-3He/4He OIB associated with the Icelandic and Samoan plumes. If so, the high-3He/4He source may also have a distinct oxygen isotopic composition from the rest of the mantle. Here, we test if the major elements of the high-3He/4He source preserve any evidence of heterogeneous accretion using measurements of three oxygen isotopes on olivine from a variety of high-3He/4He OIB locations. To high precision, the δ17O value of high-3He/4He olivines from Hawaii, Pitcairn, Baffin Island and Samoa, are indistinguishable from bulk mantle olivine (δ17OBulk Mantle-δ17OHigh 3He/4He olivine=-0.002±0.004 (2×SEM)‰). Thus, there is no resolvable oxygen isotope evidence for heterogeneous accretion in the high-3He/4He source. Modelling of mixing processes indicates that if an early-forming, oxygen-isotope distinct mantle did exist, either the anomaly was extremely small, or the anomaly was homogenised away by later mantle convection.The δ18O values of olivine with the highest 3He/4He ratios from a variety of OIB locations have a relatively uniform composition (~5‰). This composition is intermediate to values associated with the depleted MORB mantle and the average mantle. Similarly, δ18O values of olivine from high-3He/4He OIB correlate with radiogenic isotope ratios of He, Sr, and Nd. Combined, this suggests that magmatic oxygen is sourced from the same mantle as other, more incompatible elements and that the intermediate δ18O value is a feature of the high-3He/4He mantle source. The processes responsible for the δ18O signature of high-3He/4He mantle are not certain, but δ18O-87Sr/86Sr correlations indicate that it may be connected to a predominance of a HIMU-like (high U/Pb) component or other moderate δ18O components recycled into the high-3He/4He source. © 2016 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Source

Kirkbride M.,University of Dundee | Everest J.,British Geological Survey | Benn D.,UNIS | Gheorghiu D.,SUERC | Dawson A.,University of Aberdeen
Holocene | Year: 2014

We present 17 cosmogenic 10Be ages of glacial deposits in Coire an Lochain (Cairngorm Mountains), which demonstrate that glacial and nival deposits cover a longer timescale than previously recognised. Five ages provide the first evidence of a late-Holocene glacier in the British Isles. A previously unidentified moraine ridge was deposited after c. 2.8 kyr and defines a small slab-like glacier with an equilibrium line altitude (ELA) at c. 1047 m. The late-Holocene glacier was characterised by rapid firnification and a dominance of sliding, enabling the glacier to construct moraine ridges in a relatively short period. Isotopic inheritance means that the glacier may have existed as recently as the 'Little Ice Age' (LIA) of the 17th or 18th century ad, a view supported by glacier-climate modelling. Nine 10Be ages confirm a Younger Dryas Stadial (YDS) age for a cirque-floor boulder till, and date the glacier maximum to c. 12.3 kyr when the ELA was at c. 963 m altitude. Both glaciers existed because of enhanced accumulation from wind-blown snow, but the difference in ELA of only c. 84 m belies the YDS-LIA temperature difference of c. 7°C and emphasises the glacioclimatic contrast between the two periods. Three 10Be ages from till boulders originally deposited in the YDS yield ages <5.5 kyr and indicate snow-avalanche disturbance of older debris since the mid-Holocene, as climate deteriorated towards marginal glaciation. © The Author(s) 2013. Source

Muir G.K.P.,Scottish Universities Environmental Research Center | Cook G.T.,Scottish Universities Environmental Research Center | MacKenzie A.B.,Scottish Universities Environmental Research Center | MacKinnon G.,Scottish Universities Environmental Research Center | Gulliver P.,SUERC
Radiocarbon | Year: 2015

During the period from 1995 to 2011, radiocarbon measurements from the coast around Hartlepool in NE England have revealed anomalous enrichments in seawater, sediment, and marine biota. These cannot be explained on the basis of atomic weapons testing or authorized nuclear industry discharges, including those from the nearby advanced gas-cooled reactor. Enhanced 14C-specific activities have also been observed since 2005 in biota during routine monitoring at Hartlepool by the Food Standards Agency, but are reported as “likely” originating from a “nearby non-nuclear source.” Studies undertaken in Hartlepool and Teesmouth during 2005 and 2011 suggest that the 14C discharges are in the vicinity of Greatham Creek, with activity levels in biota analogous to those measured at Sellafield, which discharges TBq activities of 14C per annum. However, if the discharges are into Greatham Creek or even the River Tees, it is proposed that they would be much smaller than those at Sellafield and the high specific activities would be due to much smaller dilution factors. The discharge form of the 14C remains unclear. The activity patterns in biota are similar to those at Sellafield, suggesting that initial inputs are dissolved inorganic carbon (DI14C). However, the mussel/seaweed ratios are more akin to those found around Amersham International, Cardiff, which is known to discharge 14C in an organic form. 14C analysis of a sediment core from Seal Sands demonstrated excess 14C to the base of the core (43–44 cm). 210Pb dating of the core (0–32 cm) produced an accumulation rate of 0.7 g cm–2 yr–1, implying that 14 C discharges have occurred from the 1960s until the present day. © 2015 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona. Source

Torres Acosta V.,University of Potsdam | Bande A.,University of Potsdam | Sobel E.R.,University of Potsdam | Parra M.,University of Sao Paulo | And 4 more authors.
Tectonics | Year: 2015

The cooling history of rift shoulders and the subsidence history of rift basins are cornerstones for reconstructing the morphotectonic evolution of extensional geodynamic provinces, assessing their role in paleoenvironmental changes and evaluating the resource potential of their basin fills. Our apatite fission track and zircon (U-Th)/He data from the Samburu Hills and the Elgeyo Escarpment in the northern and central sectors of the Kenya Rift indicate a broadly consistent thermal evolution of both regions. Results of thermal modeling support a three-phased thermal history since the early Paleocene. The first phase (~65-50 Ma) was characterized by rapid cooling of the rift shoulders and may be coeval with faulting and sedimentation in the Anza Rift basin, now located in the subsurface of the Turkana depression and areas to the east in northern Kenya. In the second phase, very slow cooling or slight reheating occurred between ~45 and 15 Ma as a result of either stable surface conditions, very slow exhumation, or subsidence. The third phase comprised renewed rapid cooling starting at ~15 Ma. This final cooling represents the most recent stage of rifting, which followed widespread flood-phonolite emplacement and has shaped the present-day landscape through rift shoulder uplift, faulting, basin filling, protracted volcanism, and erosion. When compared with thermochronologic and geologic data from other sectors of the East African Rift System, extension appears to be diachronous, spatially disparate, and partly overlapping, likely driven by interactions between mantle-driven processes and crustal heterogeneities, rather than the previously suggested north-south migrating influence of a mantle plume. © 2015. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. Source

McMahon S.,University of Aberdeen | Parnell J.,University of Aberdeen | Ponicka J.,University of Aberdeen | Hole M.,University of Aberdeen | Boyce A.,SUERC
Astronomy and Geophysics | Year: 2013

Sean McMahon, John Parnell Joanna Ponicka, Malcolm Hole and Adrian Boyce argue that cavities in martian volcanic rocks are a good place to look for microbial life on Mars. © 2013 Royal Astronomical Society. Source

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