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Abstract

Noble gases have played a key role in our understanding of the origin of Earth's volatiles, mantle structure, and long-term degassing of the mantle. Here we synthesize new insights into these topics gained from high-precision noble gas data. Our analysis reveals new constraints on the origin of the terrestrial atmosphere, the presence of nebular neon but chondritic krypton and xenon in the mantle, and a memory of multiple giant impacts during accretion. Furthermore, the reservoir supplying primordial noble gases to plumes appears to be distinct from the mid-ocean ridge basalt (MORB) reservoir since at least 4.45 Ga. While differences between the MORB mantle and plume mantle cannot be explained solely by recycling of atmospheric volatiles, injection and incorporation of atmospheric-derived noble gases into both mantle reservoirs occurred over Earth history. In the MORB mantle, the atmospheric-derived noble gases are observed to be heterogeneously distributed, reflecting inefficient mixing even within the vigorously convecting MORB mantle.

  • ▪  Primordial noble gases in the atmosphere were largely derived from planetesimals delivered after the Moon-forming giant impact.
  • ▪  Heterogeneities dating back to Earth's accretion are preserved in the present-day mantle.
  • ▪  Mid-ocean ridge basalts and plume xenon isotopic ratios cannot be related by differential degassing or differential incorporation of recycled atmospheric volatiles.
  • ▪  Differences in mid-ocean ridge basalts and plume radiogenic helium, neon, and argon ratios can be explained through the lens of differential long-term degassing.

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2019-05-30
2024-06-15
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