In situ trace element and Sm-Nd isotope analysis of accessory minerals in an Eoarchean tonalitic gneiss from Greenland: implications for Hf and Nd isotope decoupling in Earth's ancient rocks

Hammerli, Johannes, Kemp, Anthony I. S., and Whitehouse, Martin J. (2019) In situ trace element and Sm-Nd isotope analysis of accessory minerals in an Eoarchean tonalitic gneiss from Greenland: implications for Hf and Nd isotope decoupling in Earth's ancient rocks. Chemical Geology, 524 (5). pp. 394-405.

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Abstract

Some of the Earths oldest preserved continental crustal rocks, from southern West Greenland, contain contradictory radiogenic isotope signatures, whereby Hf isotope ratios are chondritic but Nd isotope ratios are distinctly super-chondritic. Models to explain this discrepancy are speculative and variously invoke deep magma ocean crystallisation, Hf-Nd decoupling in subduction zones, or metamorphic disturbance during younger thermal events. Determining the cause of this discrepancy is essential for understanding Eoarchean crust-mantle differentiation. We employ, for the first time, micro-analysis of REE-rich accessory minerals to shed light on the Nd isotope evolution of a key tonalitic gneiss sample from southern West Greenland that displays the apparent Hf-Nd isotope decoupling. The results show that the Sm-Nd isotope system was homogenized during a metamorphic event at ca. 2690 Ma. We suggest that metamorphic reactions involving consumption and re-crystallisation of REE-bearing phases were accompanied by LREE element mobility and the loss of unradiogenic Nd, shifting the bulk rock composition to a more radiogenic Nd isotope value. Our study provides the first direct evidence that the anomalous Nd isotope signatures in some Eoarchean gneisses are artefacts of the disturbance of the Sm-Nd isotope system, and not due to extensive differentiation of the bulk silicate Earth by magma ocean crystallisation or continental crust formation.

Item ID: 61000
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1872-6836
Keywords: Nd isotope resetting of Eoarchean rocks; Open system metamorphism of Archean gneisses; In situ Nd isotope analysis; Mechanism of early continental crustal growth; Differentiation of the silicate Earth; Metamorphosed Eoarchean igneous rocks of southern West Greenland; Nd and Hf isotope decouplingNd Hf isotope paradox; Nd isotope signatures of Eoarchean gneisses from southern West Greenland
Copyright Information: Crown Copyright © 2019 Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Funders: Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: SNSF (grant P2SKP2_155067), ARC Future Fellowship (FT10010034), ARC (LE100100203), ARC (LE150100013), SNSF (grant no. 2017-00671)
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2019 07:33
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0402 Geochemistry > 040203 Isotope Geochemistry @ 100%
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