Publications by authors named "William P Leeman"

5 Publications

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Subduction of fracture zones controls mantle melting and geochemical signature above slabs.

Nat Commun 2014 Oct 24;5:5095. Epub 2014 Oct 24.

Department of Geosciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH-Zurich), CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland.

For some volcanic arcs, the geochemistry of volcanic rocks erupting above subducted oceanic fracture zones is consistent with higher than normal fluid inputs to arc magma sources. Here we use enrichment of boron (B/Zr) in volcanic arc lavas as a proxy to evaluate relative along-strike inputs of slab-derived fluids in the Aleutian, Andean, Cascades and Trans-Mexican arcs. Significant B/Zr spikes coincide with subduction of prominent fracture zones in the relatively cool Aleutian and Andean subduction zones where fracture zone subduction locally enhances fluid introduction beneath volcanic arcs. Geodynamic models of subduction have not previously considered how fracture zones may influence the melt and fluid distribution above slabs. Using high-resolution three-dimensional coupled petrological-thermomechanical numerical simulations of subduction, we show that enhanced production of slab-derived fluids and mantle wedge melts concentrate in areas where fracture zones are subducted, resulting in significant along-arc variability in magma source compositions and processes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms6095DOI Listing
October 2014

A study of cathodoluminescence and trace element compositional zoning in natural quartz from volcanic rocks: mapping titanium content in quartz.

Microsc Microanal 2012 Dec 20;18(6):1322-41. Epub 2012 Nov 20.

Department of Earth Science, Rice University, 6100 S. Main St., Houston, TX 77005, USA.

This article concerns application of cathodoluminescence (CL) spectroscopy to volcanic quartz and its utility in assessing variation in trace quantities of Ti within individual crystals. CL spectroscopy provides useful details of intragrain compositional variability and structure but generally limited quantitative information on element abundances. Microbeam analysis can provide such information but is time-consuming and costly, particularly if large numbers of analyses are required. To maximize advantages of both approaches, natural and synthetic quartz crystals were studied using high-resolution hyperspectral CL imaging (1.2-5.0 eV range) combined with analysis via laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICPMS). Spectral intensities can be deconvolved into three principal contributions (1.93, 2.19, and 2.72 eV), for which intensity of the latter peak was found to correlate directly with Ti concentration. Quantitative maps of Ti variation can be produced by calibration of the CL spectral data against relatively few analytical points. Such maps provide useful information concerning intragrain zoning or heterogeneity of Ti contents with the sensitivity of LA-ICPMS analysis and spatial resolution of electron microprobe analysis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1431927612013426DOI Listing
December 2012

The redox state of arc mantle using Zn/Fe systematics.

Nature 2010 Dec;468(7324):681-5

Department of Earth Sciences, Rice University, Houston, Texas 77005, USA.

Many arc lavas are more oxidized than mid-ocean-ridge basalts and subduction introduces oxidized components into the mantle. As a consequence, the sub-arc mantle wedge is widely believed to be oxidized. The Fe oxidation state of sub-arc mantle is, however, difficult to determine directly, and debate persists as to whether this oxidation is intrinsic to the mantle source. Here we show that Zn/Fe(T) (where Fe(T) = Fe(2+) + Fe(3+)) is redox-sensitive and retains a memory of the valence state of Fe in primary arc basalts and their mantle sources. During melting of mantle peridotite, Fe(2+) and Zn behave similarly, but because Fe(3+) is more incompatible than Fe(2+), melts generated in oxidized environments have low Zn/Fe(T). Primitive arc magmas have identical Zn/Fe(T) to mid-ocean-ridge basalts, suggesting that primary mantle melts in arcs and ridges have similar Fe oxidation states. The constancy of Zn/Fe(T) during early differentiation involving olivine requires that Fe(3+)/Fe(T) remains low in the magma. Only after progressive fractionation does Fe(3+)/Fe(T) increase and stabilize magnetite as a fractionating phase. These results suggest that subduction of oxidized crustal material may not significantly alter the redox state of the mantle wedge. Thus, the higher oxidation states of arc lavas must be in part a consequence of shallow-level differentiation processes, though such processes remain poorly understood.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature09617DOI Listing
December 2010

Regulating continent growth and composition by chemical weathering.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2008 Apr 24;105(13):4981-6. Epub 2008 Mar 24.

Department of Earth Science, MS-126, Rice University, 6100 Main Street, Houston, TX 77005, USA.

Continents ride high above the ocean floor because they are underlain by thick, low-density, Si-rich, and Mg-poor crust. However, the parental magmas of continents were basaltic, which means they must have lost Mg relative to Si during their maturation into continents. Igneous differentiation followed by lower crustal delamination and chemical weathering followed by subduction recycling are possible solutions, but the relative magnitudes of each process have never been quantitatively constrained because of the lack of appropriate data. Here, we show that the relative contributions of these processes can be obtained by simultaneous examination of Mg and Li (an analog for Mg) on the regional and global scales in arcs, delaminated lower crust, and river waters. At least 20% of Mg is lost from continents by weathering, which translates into >20% of continental mass lost by weathering (40% by delamination). Chemical weathering leaves behind a more Si-rich and Mg-poor crust, which is less dense and hence decreases the probability of crustal recycling by subduction. Net continental growth is thus modulated by chemical weathering and likely influenced by secular changes in weathering mechanisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0711143105DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2278177PMC
April 2008

Boron and oxygen isotope evidence for recycling of subducted components over the past 2.5 Gyr.

Nature 2007 Jun;447(7145):702-5

GEMOC, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales 2109, Australia.

Evidence for the deep recycling of surficial materials through the Earth's mantle and their antiquity has long been sought to understand the role of subducting plates and plumes in mantle convection. Radiogenic isotope evidence for such recycling remains equivocal because the age and location of parent-daughter fractionation are not known. Conversely, while stable isotopes can provide irrefutable evidence for low-temperature fractionation, their range in most unaltered oceanic basalts is limited and the age of any variation is unconstrained. Here we show that delta(18)O ratios in basalts from the Azores are often lower than in pristine mantle. This, combined with increased Nb/B ratios and a large range in delta(11)B ratios, provides compelling evidence for the recycling of materials that had undergone fractionation near the Earth's surface. Moreover, delta(11)B is negatively correlated with (187)Os/(188)Os ratios, which extend to subchondritic values, constraining the age of the high Nb/B, (11)B-enriched endmember to be more than 2.5 billion years (Gyr) old. We infer this component to be melt- and fluid-depleted lithospheric mantle from a subducted oceanic plate, whereas other Azores basalts contain a contribution from approximately 3-Gyr-old melt-enriched basalt. We conclude that both components are most probably derived from an Archaean oceanic plate that was subducted, arguably into the deep mantle, where it was stored until thermal buoyancy caused it to rise beneath the Azores islands approximately 3 Gyr later.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature05898DOI Listing
June 2007