The mantle sources of mid-ocean ridge basalts beneath the Indian and Pacific oceans have distinct isotopic compositions with a long-accepted boundary at the Australian–Antarctic Discordance along the Southeast Indian Ridge. This boundary has been widely used to place constraints on large-scale patterns of mantle flow and composition in the Earth’s upper mantle. Sampling between the Indian and Pacific ridges, however, has been lacking, especially along the remote 2,000 km expanse of the Australian–Antarctic Ridge. Here we present Sr, Nd, Hf and Pb isotope data from this region that show the Australian–Antarctic Ridge has isotopic compositions distinct from both the Pacific and Indian mantle domains. These data define a separate Zealandia–Antarctic domain that appears to have formed in response to the deep mantle upwelling and ensuing volcanism that led to the break-up of Gondwana 90 million years ago, and currently persists at the margins of the Antarctic continent. The relatively shallow depths of the Australian–Antarctic Ridge may be the result of this deep mantle upwelling. Large offset transforms to the east may be the boundary with the Pacific domain.
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The authors declare that the data supporting the findings of this study are available in Supplementary Tables 1 and 2.
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This study was supported by KOPRI grant nos PP13040 and PE18050 to S.-H.P. Support at Harvard, Wyoming, Woods Hole and Tulsa was provided by the National Science Foundation (OCE1259916). J.B.-T. was supported by the French Agence Nationale de la Recherche through grant no. ANR-10-BLAN-0603 (M&Ms—Mantle Melting—Measurements, Models, Mechanisms). S.-S.K. was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (NRF-2017R1D1A1A02018632). J.L. was also supported by the CAS through grant no.Y4SL021001 and NSFC through grant no. 91628301. We thank the captain and crew of the icebreaker RV Aaron for support under difficult sea conditions. We appreciate the constructive reviews by J. Morgan and P. Kempton.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Park, SH., Langmuir, C.H., Sims, K.W.W. et al. An isotopically distinct Zealandia–Antarctic mantle domain in the Southern Ocean. Nat. Geosci. 12, 206–214 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-018-0292-4
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