Carbon and sulphur isotopic composition of Kilauea parental magma

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Abstract

All the available data for the isotopic composition of carbon in gases emitted from summit fumaroles at Kilauea volcano, Hawaii, indicate that the carbon is enriched in 13C compared with oceanic tholeiite and in contrast to most estimates for the isotopic composition of mantle carbon1–6. Several mechanisms proposed to explain this enrichment of 13C have proved unsatisfactory2. We show here that recent models7,8 for the volatile contents and degassing of Kilauea magma permit a satisfactory reinterpretation of carbon and sulphur isotope data1–3,9,10 for Kilauea. The results indicate that Kilauea parental magma is significantly enriched in 13C compared with mid-oceanic basalts and with inferred isotopic compositions for mantle carbon3–6. Hence, mantle sources of hot-spot and mid-oceanic basalts may differ in δ13C. In contrast, the isotopic composition of sulphur in Kilauea parental magma is similar to that of mid-oceanic basalts11.

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Gerlach, T., Thomas, D. Carbon and sulphur isotopic composition of Kilauea parental magma. Nature 319, 480–483 (1986) doi:10.1038/319480a0

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