An evaluation of the behavior of the rare earth elements during the weathering of sea-floor basalt

John N. Ludden, Geoffrey Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We present rare earth element (REE) data for fresh and altered tholeiitic basalts sampled during a dredging transect at 23°N in the Atlantic Ocean and covering a time span of 0 to 57 million years. These data have been used to evaluate the behavior of the REE during low-temperature weathering processes. Compositional trends from altered basalt interiors to palagonitized rinds in individual pillow samples indicate significant mobility of the light REE: some elements are enriched by four orders of magnitude in rinds relative to interiors. The heavy REE show no selective mobilization and can be used in a normalization procedure which indicates that the light REE are enriched in altered interiors relative to fresh interiors of the basalts. Cerium behaves anomalously and accords with either its abundance in seawater or its fractionation from seawater during the formation of ferromanganese deposits. These results indicate that REE data from fresh glassy or crystalline basalt samples only may be used with confidence in petrological models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-92
Number of pages8
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume43
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1979

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

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