The elusive Hadean enriched reservoir revealed by 142Nd deficits in Isua Archaean rocks

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The first indisputable evidence for very early differentiation of the silicate Earth came from the extinct 146Sm–142Nd chronometer. 142Nd excesses measured in 3.7-billion-year (Gyr)-old rocks from Isua1,2 (southwest Greenland) relative to modern terrestrial samples imply their derivation from a depleted mantle formed in the Hadean eon (about 4,570–4,000 Gyr ago). As dictated by mass balance, the differentiation event responsible for the formation of the Isua early-depleted reservoir must also have formed a complementary enriched component. However, considerable efforts to find early-enriched mantle components in Isua have so far been unsuccessful3,4,5,6,7. Here we show that the signature of the Hadean enriched reservoir, complementary to the depleted reservoir in Isua, is recorded in 3.4-Gyr-old mafic dykes intruding into the Early Archaean rocks. Five out of seven dykes carry 142Nd deficits compared to the terrestrial Nd standard, with three samples yielding resolvable deficits down to −10.6 parts per million. The enriched component that we report here could have been a mantle reservoir that differentiated owing to the crystallization of a magma ocean, or could represent a mafic proto-crust that separated from the mantle more than 4.47 Gyr ago. Our results testify to the existence of an enriched component in the Hadean, and may suggest that the southwest Greenland mantle preserved early-formed heterogeneities until at least 3.4 Gyr ago.

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Figure 1: Compilation of all published initial 142 Nd/ 144 Nd ratios for terrestrial samples.
Figure 2: μ 142 Nd values measured for the Ameralik dykes.
Figure 3: Evolution model of the Ameralik dyke reservoir.
Figure 4: From the accretion of the Earth to the differentiation of the Ameralik dyke source.


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We thank C. Bosq for providing clean-laboratory facilities, D. Auclair for assistance with the TIMS, P. Télouk for assistance with the MC-ICP-MS, and J. L. Devidal for assistance with the Microprobe and the LA-ICP-MS. M. Benbakkar carried out the major element analyses. We thank A. Brandon and M. Jackson for comments that helped clarify the manuscript. We thank the Geological Survey of Japan for providing the isotopic standard JNdi-1. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (to M.B.), the French Programme National de Planétologie of the Institut National des Sciences de l’Univers and Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales, and the French Agence Nationale de la Recherche (grants BEGDy and M&Ms) (to J.B.T.), and the French embassy in Denmark (to M.R.). This is Laboratory of Excellence ClerVolc contribution no. 30.

Author information

Samples from the Ameralik dykes were collected by H.R., M.B., J.O’N. and M.T.R. U–Pb analyses were carried out by J.-L.P. Preparation of samples, dissolution, spike calculations, chemical separation of Sm, Nd, Lu, and Hf and isotopic analyses and modelling of data were carried out by J.B.-T., H.R. and M.B. Manuscript preparation was carried out by H.R., M.B., J.O’N. and J.B.-T., and all the authors contributed to discussing the results and their implications.

Correspondence to Hanika Rizo.

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Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

This file contains Supplementary Text, Supplementary Figures 1-12, Supplementary Table 1 and Supplementary References. (PDF 5958 kb)

Supplementary Data 1

This table shows GPS locations for the Ameralik dykes analysed. (XLS 27 kb)

Supplementary Data 2

This table contains major and trace element data for Ameralik dykes of the Amitsoq Complex. (XLS 48 kb)

Supplementary Data 3

This table shows Sm - Nd and Lu - Hf isotope data for Ameralik dykes (whole rock) of the Amitsoq Complex. (XLS 33 kb)

Supplementary Data 4

This table shows U-Pb data from Ameralik Dyke obtained by in situ Laser Ablation ICP-MS. (XLS 68 kb)

Supplementary Data 5

This table shows Nd isotope comparisons measured for the Ameralik dykes (Southwest Greenland), one amphibolite of the Isua Supracrustal belt and the terrestrial Nd standard JNdi-1. (XLS 275 kb)

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Rizo, H., Boyet, M., Blichert-Toft, J. et al. The elusive Hadean enriched reservoir revealed by 142Nd deficits in Isua Archaean rocks. Nature 491, 96–100 (2012) doi:10.1038/nature11565

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