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    Isotopic evolution of prehistoric magma sources of Mt. Etna, Sicily: Insights from the Valle Del Bove

    Kempton, P.D. and Spence, A. and Downes, Hilary and Blichert-Toft, J. and Bryce, J.G. and Hegner, E. and Vroon, P.Z. (2021) Isotopic evolution of prehistoric magma sources of Mt. Etna, Sicily: Insights from the Valle Del Bove. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 176 (7), ISSN 0010-7999.

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    Mount Etna in NE Sicily occupies an unusual tectonic position in the convergence zone between the African and Eurasian plates, near the Quaternary subduction-related Aeolian arc and above the down-going Ionian oceanic slab. Magmatic evolution broadly involves a transition from an early tholeiitic phase (~ 500 ka) to the current alkaline phase. Most geochemical investigations have focussed on either historic (> 130-years old) or recent (< 130-years old) eruptions of Mt. Etna or on the ancient basal lavas (ca. 500 ka). In this study, we have analysed and modelled the petrogenesis of alkalic lavas from the southern wall of the Valle del Bove, which represent a time span of Mt. Etna’s prehistoric magmatic activity from ~ 85 to ~ 4 ka. They exhibit geochemical variations that distinguish them as six separate lithostratigraphic and volcanic units. Isotopic data (143Nd/144Nd = 0.51283–0.51291; 87Sr/86Sr = 0.70332–0.70363; 176Hf/177Hf = 0.28288–0.28298; 206Pb/204Pb = 19.76–20.03) indicate changes in the magma source during the ~ 80 kyr of activity that do not follow the previously observed temporal trend. The oldest analysed Valle del Bove unit (Salifizio-1) erupted basaltic trachyandesites with variations in 143Nd/144Nd and 87Sr/86Sr ratios indicating a magma source remarkably similar to that of recent Etna eruptions, while four of the five subsequent units have isotopic compositions resembling those of historic Etna magmas. All five magma batches are considered to be derived from melting of a mixture of spinel lherzolite and pyroxenite (± garnet). In contrast, the sixth unit, the main Piano Provenzana formation (~ 42–30 ka), includes the most evolved trachyandesitic lavas (58–62 wt% SiO2) and exhibits notably lower 176Hf/177Hf, 143Nd/144Nd, and 206Pb/204Pb ratios than the other prehistoric Valle del Bove units. This isotopic signature has not yet been observed in any other samples from Mt. Etna and we suggest that the parental melts of the trachyandesites were derived predominantly from ancient pyroxenite in the mantle source of Etna.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Prehistoric Etna, Sr:Nd:Pb:Hf isotopes, Mantle heterogeneity
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Natural Sciences
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2021 09:27
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 18:11


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