Two mantle domains and the time scales of fluid transfer beneath the Vanuatu arc

Simon P. Turner*, David W. Peate, Chris J. Hawkesworth, Stephen M. Eggins, Anthony J. Crawford

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


U-Th isotope disequilibria can provide constraints on the time elapsed since fluid addition to the mantle wedge beneath island arcs. The Vanuatu arc offers new insights into these processes because Pb isotopes there are not dominated by components from the subducting plate and so preserve the signatures of the mantle wedge. The Pb isotope data document the presence of separate Pacific and Indian mantle domains beneath the arc volcanoes. The Indian mantle was brought beneath the central part of the arc from the backarc by collision with the D'Entrecasteaux Ridge, resulting in a slowing of subduction there. The distinction in the mantle wedge composition is also uniquely apparent in U-Th isotope data, which define two subparallel arrays on the U-Th equiline diagram, one anchored to high U/Th Pacific matle and the other to lower U/Th Indian mantle. These data provide clrear evidence of the effects of variaible mantle composition on U-Th isotope disequilibria. We argue that such arrays faithfully record the time elapsed since fluid release from the subducting plate. The data indicate that this occurred ca. 16 Ka in the area of collision and slow subduction, but ca. 60 ka where the rate of subduction is substantially faster. This suggests a link between the rate of subduction and the time elapsed since fluid release.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)963-966
Number of pages4
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1999
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Two mantle domains and the time scales of fluid transfer beneath the Vanuatu arc'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this