What goes down, must come up? Tracking sediment input to subduction zone magmas using radiogenic and stable Sr isotopes

Volcan Villarrica

Volcan Villarrica

Gain insights into the ‘recycling system’ of sediments/carbonates on Earth, with implications for the melt formation and also the deep carbon cycle on our planet. 

Subduction zones are places on Earth of intense destruction and creation: sediments and associated rocks are dragged into the zone of melting in the mantle wedge, and magmas are created which are erupted at the surface.

Compositional parameters such as radiogenic isotope tracers – for example strontium isotopes 87Sr/86Sr – show us that what goes in to creating individual batches of magma is not always a uniform recipe, even within an individual subduction zone.

Caburgua

Caburgua

The Pucón area of Southern Chile is an area of prolific subduction volcanism containing large stratovolcanoes and small scoria cones, each with its own unique ‘flavour’.

In this project you will analyse both radiogenic (87Sr/86Sr) and stable (δ88Sr) Sr isotopes in volcanic samples from this geologically active area to investigate in detail the inputs of materials to the magmas which built the volcanoes, and the likely sources of these (i.e., Sr derived from mantle, recycled crust, carbonate sediments).

Prerequisites:

  • Igneous and Metamorphic III: an enjoyment of the geochemical aspects of the course.

Lucy McGee | Juraj Farkas

Recommended honours enrolment: Honours in Geology

Tagged in Honours projects - Geology, Honours Projects - Lucy McGee, Honours Projects - Juraj Farkas