Geochemical heterogeneities within the Crozet hotspot

Thomas Breton*, François Nauret, Sylvain Pichat, Bertrand Moine, Manuel Moreira, Estelle F. Rose-Koga, Delphine Auclair, Chantal Bosq, Laurène Marie Wavrant

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


The Crozet Plateau is a 54 Ma-old volcanic plateau that supports five islands characterized by recent volcanic manifestations that are the surface expression of a deep-mantle plume. Due to their remote location and difficult access, the Crozet Islands are poorly sampled. Both the petrological descriptions and geochemical data are scarce. Thus, the sources of the Crozet plume are still under debate. Similarly, the interactions between the Southwest Indian Ridge (SWIR) and the Crozet plume remain questioned. Here, we present a new set of isotopes (Pb, Sr, Nd and He), major and trace elements data on basalts from three islands of the Crozet Archipelago: Penguins, East, and Possession Islands. Our main purpose is to characterize the sources of the Crozet plume and to test its influence at regional scale. Two groups of lavas can be distinguished based on the isotopic data: East and Possession lavas, and Penguins lavas. Principal component analyses on our high-precision Pb isotopes data and literature data show that two mantle sources can explain most of the geochemical variability measured in Crozet lavas. A third minor contribution is however needed to fully explain the data. The entire set of isotopic compositions (Pb, Sr, Nd and He) can be explained by a mixing between three mantle sources: (1) a FOZO (Focus Zone) component, with 206Pb/204Pb higher than 19.5 and high 207Pb/204Pb, 208Pb/204Pb 87Sr/86Sr, 143Nd/144Nd and R/Ra (R/Ra=(He3/He4)sample/(He3/He4)atmosphere) ratios, that is mainly sampled Penguins lavas, (2) a component called "East-Possession" that is mostly sampled by the East-Possession lava group and which presents Pb, Sr and Nd isotope signatures similar to those of the Reunion-Mauritius Islands, and (3) a third minor contribution of the local Depleted MORB Mantle (DMM). The new He isotopes data on the Crozet plume allow us to propose that Crozet plume material is present in the segment of the Southwest Indian Ridge located between the Indomed (ITF) and Gallieni (GTF) transform faults. This hypothesis is confirmed by a mixing model based on trace-elements and isotopes data from the ITF-GTF segment of the SWIR and Crozet. We propose that the shallow mantle below the ITF-GTF segment of the SWIR is contaminated by deep material from the Crozet plume.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-136
Number of pages11
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • FOZO
  • Plume-ridge interaction
  • Sr-Nd-Pb-He isotopes
  • SWIR
  • Trace elements


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