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Article
Nature 384, 231 - 235 (21 November 1996); doi:10.1038/384231a0

Constraints on mantle melting at mid-ocean ridges from global 238U–230Th disequilibrium data

B. Bourdon*, A. Zindler*, T. Elliott*§ & C. H. Langmuir*

*Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, New York 10964, USA
National High Magnetic Field Laboratory and Department of Geology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida 32306, USA
§Faculteit der Aardwetenschappen, Vrije Universiteit, de Boelelaan 1085,1081 HV Amsterdam, Netherlands
Present address: Laboratoire de Géochimie et Cosmochimie, CNRS, IPGP 4, Place Jussieu 75252 Paris Cedex 05, France.

The extent of radioactive disequilibrium between 238U and its daughter product 230Th in mid-ocean-ridge basalts from around the world is negatively correlated with axial ridge depth; local positive correlations with inferred mantle source composition are also observed. The larger 230Th excesses seen in samples from shallow ridges reflect a larger melt contribution from a garnet-bearing source which may be explained by a deepening of the solidus in hotter mantle regions. These observations provide important constraints for modelling melt generation at mid-ocean ridges.

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