Mantle-derived noble gases in carbonatites

T. Sasada*, H. Hiyagon, K. Bell, M. Ebihara

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


Isotopic compositions of the noble gases (He, Ne, Ar, Kr, Xe) were obtained by stepwise heating of separated mineral phases from carbonatites from Brazil (Jacupiranga, Tapira) and Canada (Borden, Oka, and Prairie Lake) as well as one syenite (Poohbah Lake, Canada). Mineral phases used were apatite, forsterite, diopside, calcite, monticellite, and perovskite. Large amount of in situ produced 238U-fissiogenic 131-136Xe, along with lesser amounts of 238U-fissiogenic 83-86Kr and in situ 4He were found in most samples. An apatite sample from the Prairie Lake carbonatite showed a 136Xe/130Xe ratio of about 1400. Some samples, mostly apatites, showed excess 129Xe relative to air in the high temperature (1800°C) gas fractions. The highest 129Xe/130Xe ratios, between 7.0 and 8.6, are similar to those found in other mantle-derived materials such as MORBs and diamonds. The excess 129Xe is considered to be primordial and attributed to now extinct nuclide 129I once present in the early history of the Earth. Neon isotopic compositions were also anomalous showing very low 20Ne/22Ne ratios (down to 0.01) and high 21Ne/22Ne ratios (up to 1.25). They are attributed to Wetherill reactions, such as 18O(α,n) 21Ne, 19F(α,n)22Na(β+)22Ne, and so on. The measured 40Ar/36Ar ratios are extremely variable and range from values that are close to atmospheric to values as high as 42400. Stepwise heating studies of an apatite from the Jacupiranga carbonatite indicate that the high temperature fractions retain the original noble gas signature of the carbonatite source. The 40Ar/36Ar ratios for the high temperature gas fractions are about 6400 or smaller. A plot of 40Ar/36Ar vs. 129Xe/130Xe shows that the source of carbonatites is different and less degassed than that of MORBs. The presence of excess 129Xe in carbonatites suggests that carbon in carbonatites is unlikely to be recycled C related to subduction processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4219-4228
Number of pages10
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 1997 Oct
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


Dive into the research topics of 'Mantle-derived noble gases in carbonatites'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this