Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Tracing trace elements from sediment input to volcanic output at subduction zones

Abstract

AT ocean trenches, sea-floor sediments may either be scraped off the subducting plate, or accompany it into the mantle. Some of the subducted sediment may then be recycled to the arc crust by magmatism1; the rest may be recycled into the mantle, and contribute to mantle heterogeneity2. Strong evidence for sediment contributions to arc volcanism has come from isotope tracers, such as 207Pb and 10Be (refs 3–5), but a global mass balance requires consideration of element fluxes6. Here we report the sedimentary fluxes into eight trenches around the globe of trace elements that are enriched in arc volcanics (Ba, Sr, K, Rb, Cs, La, Th and U)7 We show that the volcanic outputs clearly reflect the sediment inputs, once the effects of melting are taken into account8. Where the sediment flux into a trench is high for a particular element, the associated volcanics are enriched in this same element. Thus, some of the geochemical characteristics of arc volcanics can be traced back to the sediments at the trench. A mass balance of the inputs and outputs will ultimately provide estimates for how much sediment is recycled to the arc, and how much to the deeper mantle.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Prices vary by article type

from$1.95

to$39.95

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

References

  1. Armstrong, R. L. Earth planet. Sci. Lett. 12, 137–142 (1971).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. White, W. M. Geology 13, 115–118 (1985).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Kay, R. W., Sun, S-S. & Hu, C-N. Geochim. cosmochim. Acta 42, 263–273 (1978).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Tera, F., Brown, L., Morris, J., Sacks, I. S., Klein, J. & Middleton, R. Geochim. cosmochim. Acta 50, 535–550 (1986).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. White, W. M., Dupre, B. & Vidal, P. Geochim. cosmochim. Acta. 49, 1875–1886 (1985).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Karig, D. E. & Kay, R. W. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. A301, 233–251 (1981).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Gill, J. B. Orogenic Andesites and Plate Tectonics (Springer, New York, 1981).

    Book  Google Scholar 

  8. Plank, T. & Langmuir, C. H. Earth planet Sci. Lett. 90, 349–370 (1988).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. von Huene, R. & Scholl, D. W. Rev. Geophys. 29, 279–316 (1991).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  10. Westbrook, G. K., Ladd, J. W., Buhl, P., Bangs, N. & Tiley, G. J. Geology 16, 631–635 (1988).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  11. Moore, G. F. & Shipley, T. H. J. geophys. Res. 93, 8911–8927 (1988).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  12. Bloomer, S. H. & Fisher, R. L. J. Geol. 95, 469–495 (1986).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  13. Hussong, D. M. & Uyeda, S. Init. Rep. DSDP 60, 909–929 (1982).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. von Huene, R. & Aubouin, J. Init. Rep. DSDP 67, 775–796 (1982).

    Google Scholar 

  15. Heath, G. R. & Dymond, J. Geol. Soc. Am. Bull. 88, 723–733 (1977).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Kyte, F. T., Leinen, M., Heath, G. R. & Zhou, L. Geochim. cosmochim. Acta (in the press).

  17. Plank, T. & Ludden, J. N. Proc. ODP Sci. Res. 123, 167–189 (1992).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. Taylor, S. R. & McLennan, S. M. The Continental Crust: its Composition and Evolution (Blackwell, Oxford, 1985).

    Google Scholar 

  19. Toyoda, K., Nakamura, Y. & Masuda, A. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 54, 1093–1103 (1990).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. Plank, T. thesis, Columbia Univ. (1993).

  21. Klein, E. M. & Langmuir, C. H. Geophys. Res. 92, 8089–8115 (1987).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  22. Langmuir, C. H. Klein, E. M. & Plank, T. AGU Monogr. (in the press).

  23. Jarrard, R. D. Rev. Geophys. 24, 217–284 (1986).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  24. Ewart, A. & Hawkesworth, C. J. J. Petrol. 28, 495–530 (1987).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  25. McCulloch, M. T. & Gamble, J. A. Earth planet. Sci. Lett. 102, 358–374 (1991).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  26. Pearce, J. A. Continental Basalts and Mantle Xenoliths (eds Hawkesworth, C. J. & Norry, M. J.) 230–249 (Shiva, Nantwich, 1983).

    Google Scholar 

  27. Varne, R. & Foden, J. D. The Origin of Arcs (ed. Wezel, F-C) 159–189 (Elsevier, Amsterdam, 1986).

    Book  Google Scholar 

  28. Leeman, W. P. J. Volc. geotherm. Res. 18, 561–588 (1983).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  29. Hildreth, W. & Moorbath, S. Contrib. Mineral. Petrol. 98, 455–489 (1988).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  30. Minster, J. B. & Jordan, T. H. J. geophys. Res. 83, 5331–5354 (1978).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  31. Kay, R. W. & Kay, S. M. Geochim. cosmochim. Acta 52, 1351–1359 (1988).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  32. Carr, M. J., Feigenson, M. D. & Bennett, E. A. Contrib. Mineral. Petrol. 105, 369–380 (1990).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  33. Davidson, J. P. Geochim. cosmochim. Acta 51, 2185–2198 (1987).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  34. Karl, S. M., Wandless, G. A. & Karpoff, A. M. Proc. ODP Sci. Results 129, 31–80 (1992).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  35. Legget, J. K. Init. Rep. DSDP 66, 683–686 (1982).

    Google Scholar 

  36. Briqueu, L. & Lancelot, J. R. Geochim. cosmochim. Acta 47, 191–200 (1983).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  37. Zhou, L. & Kyte, F. T. Paleoceanography 7, 441–465 (1992).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  38. Plank, T. & Langmuir, C. H. J. geophys. Res. 97, 19749–19770 (1992).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Plank, T., Langmuir, C. Tracing trace elements from sediment input to volcanic output at subduction zones. Nature 362, 739–743 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1038/362739a0

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/362739a0

This article is cited by

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing