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© 2016 European Association of Geochemistry

Release of subducted sedimentary nitrogen
throughout Earth’s mantle
P.H. Barry1,2*, D.R. Hilton1


doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.1615

The dynamic process of subduction represents the principal means to introduce chemical
heterogeneities into Earth’s interior. In the case of nitrogen (N) - atmosphere’s most abundant gas - biological-activity converts N2 into ammonium ions (NH4+), which are chemicallybound within seafloor sediments and altered oceanic crust that comprise the subducting
slab. Although some subducted N re-emerges via arc-related volcanism (Sano et al., 1998;
Fischer et al., 2002), the majority likely bypasses sub-arc depths (150-200 km) and supplies
the deeper mantle (Li et al., 2007; Mitchell et al., 2010; Johnson and Goldblatt, 2015; Bebout
et al., 2016). However, the fate of subducted N remains enigmatic: is it incorporated by the
shallow convecting mantle - the source of ridge volcanism, or is the deeper mantle - nominally associated with mantle plumes - its ultimate repository? Here, we present N-He-Ne-Ar
isotope data for oceanic basalts from the Central Indian Ridge (CIR)-Réunion plume region
to address this issue. All on-axis samples with depleted MORB mantle (DMM) affinities
(3He/4He = 8 ± 1 R A ; Graham, 2002) have low N-isotopes (mean δ15N = -2.1 ‰), whereas
those with plume-like 3He/4He display higher values (mean δ15N = 1.3 ‰). We explain these
data within the framework of a new mantle reference model to predict a time-integrated
net N regassing flux to the mantle of ~3.4 × 1010 mol/yr, with the plume-source mantle
representing the preferential destination by a factor of 2-3. The model has implications for
the present-day imbalance between N subducted at trenches and N emitted via arc-related
volcanism, the N-content of Earth’s early atmosphere, as well as relationships between N2
and the noble gases in mantle reservoirs, including 3He/4He-δ15N relationships in plumederived lavas.
Received 3 February 2016 | Accepted 11 April 2016 | Published 3 May 2016

The CIR-Réunion plume system is a classic modern example of oblique plumeridge interaction, with the present-day plume centred at Réunion Island and three
submarine off-ridge segments, the Rodriguez, Three Magi and Gasitao ridges,
1. Fluids & Volatiles Laboratory, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, La Jolla, California
92093-0244, USA
2. Present address: Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford, OX1 3AN, UK
* Corresponding author (email:


Geochem. Persp. Let. (2016) 2, 148-159 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.1615


Geochemical Perspectives Letters

connecting with the CIR ridge axis located ~1100 km to the east. These westto-east trending ridges were formed by volcanism above a channel of Réunion
hotspot mantle as the CIR migrated northeast over and away from the plume
(Morgan, 1978). He-isotopes – the canonical tracer of mantle plume involvement in petrogenesis – are higher (>9 R A) than typical DMM values of 8 ± 1 R A
(where R A = air-like 3He/4He) at Réunion Island and along the off-axis ridges.
In contrast, the CIR exhibits DMM-like 3He/4He values along axis, except at the
point where the projection of the submarine ridges meets the ridge axis ~19.9 °S
(Füri et al., 2011; Fig. S-1).
New nitrogen isotope and abundance analyses, along with accompanying
neon and argon data, of basaltic glasses from the CIR axis between 16.7 °S and
20.6 °S, and from the off-axis ridges to the west of the CIR (Fig. S-1) are presented
in Table 1a and b. In addition, we report Ne and Ar isotope and abundance data
on olivine separates of a suite of cumulate dunite xenoliths from Réunion Island.
Samples were processed by vacuum crushing with released gases analysed using
a noble gas mass spectrometer (Barry et al., 2012). All samples have been analysed previously for He isotopes, major/minor and trace element chemistry (Füri
et al., 2011).
Nitrogen isotope results are presented in the δ15N notation (where δ15N =
((15N/14Nsample/15N/14Nair)-1) × 1000) and plotted against He isotopes in Figure 1a,
and displayed in comparison to the δ15N database of ocean basalts in Figure 1b.
We highlight the following key features of the N-isotope results. First, all on-axis
samples (with the exception of D9-2; δ15N = 1.16 ‰) have negative δ15N values.
The highest and lowest values are -0.10 and -3.8 ‰ giving an on-axis δ15N mean
value of -2.1 ± 1.1 ‰ (1σ; n = 7) or -1.7 ± 1.6 ‰ (n = 8 if D9-2 is included). Notably,
sample D9-2 has a 3He/4He ratio (7.25 R A), which falls in the nominal DMM range
(8 ± 1 R A ; Graham, 2002) characteristic of most samples on the CIR ridge-axis
(Füri et al., 2011). The only on-axis sample (DR10-1) of the present sample suite
with a 3He/4He value higher than DMM (3He/4He = 10.31 R A) is from the region
where the projection of the off-axis ridge impinges the spreading centre (~19.9 °S):
it has a δ15N value of -0.10 ‰ – the second highest value of the on-axis samples.
Second, the three off-axis samples – all with 3He/4He > 9 R A – have positive δ15N
values, ranging from +0.89 to +1.80 ‰; with a mean value of 1.3 ± 0.7 ‰ (1σ).
Thus, with the exception of sample D9-2, there is a clear distinction between
relatively low δ15N values associated with DMM-like He-isotopes on the ridge
axis and relatively high δ15N values associated with plume-like 3He/4He values
off-axis. Finally, we point out that with the exception of sample D8-2, all δ15N
values, irrespective of location on- or off-axis, are higher than the range nominally associated with DMM (δ15N = -5 ± 2 ‰; Fig. 1b). Thus, samples of this study
have experienced enrichment in 15N compared to the majority of basalts erupted
at ridge axes worldwide.
There are three processes capable of producing high (>DMM) δ15N signatures in CIR basalts: (1) assimilation of existing crust during magma eruption,
likely also involving incorporation of air (δ15N = 0 ‰), (2) mass-dependent

Geochem. Persp. Let. (2016) 2, 148-159 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.1615


0317 ± 0.025 408.3 349.008 0.2 1272 ± 0.28 ± 0.10 0.10 10.0290 ± 0.7 16.21 4.0294 ± 0.22 14.022 318.17 18 ± 0.13 0.0008 0.11 10.89 ± 0.023 11. 148-159 | doi: 10. (2016) 2.025 2.67 ± 0. Blank subtractions and a comprehensive CO correction have been applied to all results.68 ± 0.0009 0.31 ± 0.0296 ± 0.11 0.0 ± 0.89 ± 0.6 554.7185/geochemlet.0013 0.4 ± 0.34 1.81 ± 0.12 9. Let.34 ± 0.0002 1.5 ± 0.3 9.72 ± 0.3 761 ± 0. Three Magi Ridges and Abyssal Hill.09 7.2 1968 ± 2.9 724 ± 0.3 ± 0.08 ± 0.6 1326 ± 0.26 ± 0.9 ± 0.14 ± 1.5 9.0 ± 2.0 776 ± 0.0291 ± 0.0295 ± 0.1 296.20 ± 0. Uncertainties on δ15N are 1σ.4 ± 0. 2011.1615 Geochem.12 10. c All N /Ar uncertainties are less than 10 %.1 9.0008 1294 ± 3.95 ± 0.09 ± 0.97 21.006 CH07-01 CH07-02 CH07-04 CH07-07 a N2 concentration measurements are accurate within 3 %.8 1268 ± 0.11 0.3 2413 ± 5.11 10.1 2.017 0. based on the reproducibility of standards.55 -2.10 ± 0.1 ± 3.47 244 8.10 9.53 -2.01 8.0296 ± 0.25 ± 0.8 1576 ± 5.0294 ± 0.76 ± 0.30 ± 0.51 1.019 0.2 78. (2016) 2.7185/geochemlet.006 1725 ± 12 1786 ± 4.55 ± 0.81 ± 1. [40Ar] × 10 -9 cm3STP/g Sample On-Axis D1-1 D1-1 (Dup) D3-1 D2-1 D8-2 D9-2 D15-1 D14-1 D14-1 (Dup) DR10-1 D13-1 D13-1 (Dup) 10.0 705.15 ± 0.32 ± 0.1 4 He/40Ar* Gasitao Ridge D20-5 D20-5 (Dup #1) D20-5 (Dup #2) D18-1 Abyssal Hill D37-2 Réunion Island CH07-01 CH07-02 CH07-04 CH07-07 N2 /Arc Off-Axis Three Magi Ridges Abyssal Hill D37-2 He/4He (R/ R A )d δ15N (‰)b D1-1 D1-1 (Dup) D3-1 D2-1 D8-2 D9-2 D15-1 D14-1 D14-1 (Dup) DR10-1 D13-1 D13-1 (Dup) Gasitao Ridge D20-5 D20-5 (Dup #1) D20-5 (Dup #2) D18-1 3 [N2] × 10 -6cm3 STP/ga On-Axis Off-Axis Three Magi Ridges D22-1 D22-1 (Dup #1) D22-1 (Dup #2) D26-2 Geochemical Perspectives Letters Letter Réunion Island 0.0 421 ± 0.3 765 ± 0.8 127 104 129 9.83 82.10 ± 0.0324 ± 0.34 ± 0.0340 ± 0.11 0.89 ± 0.09 ± 0.3 6.0331 ± 0.0 20.007 0.14 ± 0.10 9.23 13.63 -1.9 9.05 9.71 -1.0001 1.1 10.007 0.25 ± 0.5 1903 ± 0.5 38.7 10.10 9.85 ± 0.6 ± 0.06 11 ± 1. and relative He-N-Ar abundances of submarine basaltic glasses from the CIR (on-axis) and adjacent (off-axis) Gasitao Ridge.0296 ± 0.52 1.1 401 ± 0.0006 0.0327 ± 0.02 23 ± 0.9 85.012 2.0316 ± 0.5 ± 0.8 1514 ± 3.6 31 ± 0.0004 0.3 ± 0.10 0.007 0. 20 Sample Ne/22Ne 21 Ne/22Ne 20Ne × 10 -9 cm3 STP/g 40 Ar/36Ar Table 1b Nitrogen and He isotope systematics.0004 0.5 ± 0.0001 0.2 327 ± 0.0314 ± 0.0004 0.3 3520 ± 12 2193 ± 3.2 ± 1. Three Magi Ridges and Abyssal Hill.9 - - - 9.68 ± 0.4 11 ± 0.90 ± 0.06 ± 0.91 -1.14 7.12 10.43 ± 0.1 6.1 1. 148-159 | doi: 10.0306 ± 0.4 10 ± 0.99 ± 0.40 ± 0.3 ± 2.7 92.2 125 ± 0.15 1.51 ± 0.2 ± 0.58 ± 0.05 ± 0.26 ± 0. and olivine separates from dunite xenoliths of Piton Chisny (Réunion).09 ± 0.1 2.20 ± 0.12 ± 0.1 1.9 2416 ± 0.9 68.9 14.0302 ± 0.49 ± 0. Blank subtractions have been applied to all N /Ar results.013 0.13 10.25 ± 0.1 ± 0. Persp.2 7.1 - - - 13.6 15.004 3519 ± 12 8487 ± 43 722 ± 0.0010 0.0002 1.3 16 ± 0.4 3.2 1.5 ± 0.1 D22-1 D22-1 (Dup #1) D22-1 (Dup #2) D26-2 5.11 9.25 13.66 ± 0.4 ± 0.006 0.0004 0.1 -1.17 ± 0.91 ± 0.5 1415 ± 0.84 ± 0.0014 0.11 7. Persp.0005 0.89 ± 0.011 0.74 ± 0. b δ15N 150 Geochem.020 0.38 -0.1 383 ± 0.1 308 ± 0.02 8.5 831.00 ± 0.0 ± 0.4 849 ± 0. 2 2 d Data previously reported in Füri et al.80 ± 0.2 396.71 ± 0.03 - 62 ± 0.0304 ± 0.46 ± 0. Let.86 ± 0.93 ± 0.56 5.16 ± 0.Geochemical Perspectives Letters Letter Table 1a Neon and argon isotope systematics of submarine basaltic glasses from the CIR (on-axis) and adjacent (off-axis) Gasitao Ridge.34 ± 0..23 10.93 ± 0.030 0.59 -2.21 ± 0.06 8.19 ± 0.13 -3.1 ± 3.11 ± 0.0401 ± 0.0003 0.12 0.5 156 267 281 238 47.28 ± 0. and olivine separates from dunite xenoliths of Piton Chisny (Réunion).10 ± 0.08 8.6 131 8.1615 151 .0296 ± 0.0002 0.33 ± 0.6 74.11 10.7 10.19 ± 0.02 10.01 ± 0.87 ± 0.1 5.45 1.0 501.51 132 99.05 ± 0.25 ± 0.0003 0.0007 0.48 0.0 48.06 9.6 ± 0.14 ± 0.012 290.67 ± 0.9 8.

and off-axis endmembers lie on the projection between pure DMM and SMM with the proportion of N derived from SMM clearly greater in off-axis samples versus on-axis samples (Fig. showing high (positive) δ15N values in all off-axis samples with >DMM-like 3He/4He values. a DMM 21Ne/22 Ne endmember value (0. In contrast.14 and 0.and off-axis) are compatible with mixing between two distinct endmember compositions (Fig.or off-axis N database (Table 1a and b) for a correlation between high N-contents – possibly reflecting crustal assimilation and/or air addition – and high δ15N values. a primitive/solar (mantle) Ne component and in-situ nucleogenic 21Ne. SMM nitrogen reflects superimposition and dominance of recently-added sedimentary N relative to pure DMM.7185/geochemlet. 1d). and/or (3) recycling of oceanic sediments and/or oceanic crust (δ15N ~+5 to +7 ‰) into the CIR mantle source region producing the melts (Marty and Dauphas. Let.3 ‰) but the same DMM-like 21Ne/22NeEX value. 2005). see Supplementary Information for details). The coupled δ15N-21Ne/22NeEX characteristics of both sets of basaltic glasses (i. We subtract the air-derived Ne to yield a mantle 21Ne/22Ne ratio (the so-called extrapolated value – (21Ne/22NeEX ). Geochem. two of the three highest N-content on-axis samples (D8-2 and D15-1) have the lowest δ15N values of this suite.1615 153 . 2001). One endmember..and off-axis samples. on. 2012). (c) Argon isotopes (40Ar/ 36Ar) versus N-isotopes. likely related to subduction of 15N-enriched oceanic ­sediments and/or oceanic crust. Furthermore. 2006). whereas the former two are predominantly shallow-level phenomena that act to mask primary (source) δ15N signatures. i.1 ‰ whereas the off-axis samples project to an endmember with a higher δ15N (~1. Solar Ne is defined by the solar wind value of 0.03118 (Trieloff and Kunz.or off-axis samples: all on-axis samples fall within 2σ of the mean value of -2. the endmember has a DMM 21Ne/22NeEX value (0. which reflects mixing between N incorporated at the time of planetary accretion – small amounts of primordial N (δ15N <-40 ‰).. fractionation related to magmatic degassing (Cartigny et al. For example. Figure 1 (a) He-isotopes (3He/4He) versus N-isotopes. There is little evidence in either the on. is common to both sample suites. 2).1 ‰. which has in-grown over time. off-axis samples are characterised by markedly 152 Geochem.0594) is derived by extrapolating the MORB trajectory (Sarda et al.1615 In Figure 2. (b) Histogram of N-isotopes measured along the CIR (in black) and its adjacent ridges (in red) relative to global DMM (green) and OIB (grey) averages (from Cartigny and Marty. which would act to increase both δ15N and N-content of samples. (2) depleted MORB mantle (DMM) and (3) sedimentmodified mantle (SMM). Finally. (2016) 2. Lee et al. (d) 4He/40Ar* (degassing proxy) versus N-isotopes suggests that high δ15N values are not produced by magmatic degassing (see text). Persp. 1c) shows no correlation for either on. there is a 30-fold difference in N-content between off-axis samples D22-1 and D18-1 yet they have indistinguishable δ15N values. samples with low 40Ar/36Ar values do not have δ15N values closer to air (0 ‰). 2003). 2002). both on. 2013).e. Notably. The latter possibility implies that δ15N is a feature intrinsic to the mantle source. possibly as low as proto-solar-nebula (PSN) nitrogen (δ15N = -383 ± 8 ‰). Although 4He/40Ar* ratios vary between 5-31 for samples D18-1 and D26-2. with low δ15N and low 21Ne/22NeEX. respectively. 1988) to the 20Ne/22Ne value of Ne-B (= 12. Thus. as observed at convergent margins such as Costa Rica (Fischer et al. Persp. The neon isotope characteristics of CIR lavas are plotted on a traditional three-isotope Ne diagram (Fig. 148-159 | doi: 10.. 148-159 | doi: 10. Thus. S-2). For Ne-isotopes. we conclude that the range in δ15N values reported here reflects intrinsic mantle source features..6. with solar gas being the most plausible candidate.and off-axis samples without compromise of air contamination. In the case of CIR on-axis basalts. Both observations are inconsistent with addition of air and/or crustal N. all CIR basalts comprise three Ne components: air. (2016) 2.060) and δ15N = -2. the second endmember differs between on. 1987).7185/geochemlet.e. 1992) so that DMM and SMM have the same 21Ne/22NeEX value. a plot of 40Ar/36Ar versus δ15N (Fig. and to compare Ne isotopes to corresponding N-isotope variations. 2). yet 40Ar/36Ar values range between 8500 and close to the atmospheric value (298.5) and noting the 21Ne/22Ne value at that point.89 ‰ (Fig. Let. We note that all samples lie intermediate to air-DMM and air-Réunion mixing trajectories with no clear distinction between on. and nitrogen introduced into the mantle by longterm recycling of atmospheric (= 0 ‰) and/or sediment-derived (= ~+5 to +7 ‰) components (Marty. their δ15N values are virtually identical at 1. we plot the extrapolated Ne-isotope values (21Ne/22NeEX ) of all basalts against measured δ15N together with endmember compositions for (1) pre-solar nitrogen (PSN).and off-axis samples. Pure DMM has a δ15N value of ~-5 ± 2 ‰.. We assume that subduction of oceanic sediments and crust does not introduce neon (or helium) into the mantle (Hilton et al. Similarly. This approach allows us to assess mantle neon features of both on.Geochemical Perspectives Letters Letter Geochemical Perspectives Letters Letter 4 40 different He/ Ar* ratios – a parameter sensitive to magma degassing due to the factor of ~10 difference in solubility between He and Ar in basaltic melt (Lux.

then a total of 1..1615 155 .27 ± 0. 2013). Figure 2 Extrapolated Ne ((21Ne/ 22Ne)EX .e.e.g. of which ~15 % (i. (2016) 2. 2013) includes all non-arc related N (i. The curvature of the binary mixing trajectories in Figure 2 has important implications for the overall recycling efficiency of N relative to Ne. 2013) which is unmodified by any degassing prior to the onset of subduction.16 ppm (Marty. The curvature of the hyperbolic mixing lines is described by the r-value = (14N/ 22Ne)DMM/SMM /(14N/ 22Ne)PSN.9 × 1018 mol N before degassing. then a mass of ~3.5 × 108 mol/yr) is derived from this reservoir (Ito et al. 2003).5 × 1018 moles of subductionderived N (δ15N = +5 ‰). 2003).e. Again assuming a constant mantle degassing flux of 5 × 109 mol/yr (Cartigny and Marty.e. Marty and Dauphas.9 × 1018 mol requires 61 × 1018 moles N (~92 % of the total) of subduction-derived N (δ15N = +5 ‰) mixing with 8 % (i.5 Ga since subduction commenced (e.g. and (5) the initial mantle δ15N is -40 ‰ (PSN-like. 2001). Mikhail and Sverjensky. then CIR data can be used within the framework of a newly-constructed reference model to place constraints on N regassing fluxes into the mantle (i. r ≥ 1000. 154 Geochem.6 × 1018 mol N has been degassed from the DMM source over an estimated 2. Preferential deep recycling of N relative to Ne is consistent with recent theoretical and experimental predictions that indicate that N is stabilised as ammonium under subduction redox conditions (fO2 < QFM. It makes the following assumptions: (1) the N regassing flux commences at the onset of subduction and is constant through time. then a total of 10. 2013). 2014) and therefore behaves as a large ion lithophile element whereby it can substitute into K-bearing silicate minerals and gain stability in the downgoing slab (Li et al. air-corrected 21Ne/ 22Ne values) versus 15N/14N values of CIR basalts.5 Ga. Cartigny and Marty. as a consequence of additions of different amounts of subducted sedimentary N (δ15N = +5 ‰). Persp. both absolute flux values as well as the relative proportions regassing the DMM and PLM reservoirs).7185/geochemlet.g. δ15N = +5 ‰) to DMM mantle (δ15N = -5 ‰). Thus. The total N-content of 65. Anderson. 2013). (2) a constant proportion of the total N regassing flux (F) is subducted into each respective mantle reservoir (defined here as F DMM and F PLM ) and instantaneously mixes in each reservoir. or ~84 % of the total N. and 4. 2012).and off-axis samples. Using the same approach for the PLM – assumed to be represented by offaxis high 3He/4He plume melts with an average δ15N = 1. Assuming that the mantle degassing flux (5 × 109 mol/yr. 2013). 7.e. If we assume that on-axis samples can be used to approximate the N composition of the DMM and that off-axis samples best represent the plume mantle (PLM).3 × 1018 mol N in the modern-day DMM.4 x 109 moles/yr.3 × 109 mol/yr) and 15 % plume mantle-derived (7. respectively (Ito et al. Moreover.4 × 1018 moles (or 16 %) of PSN (δ15N = -40 ‰). Marty. 2006. 2003)...7185/geochemlet.5 Ga). 2012. 148-159 | doi: 10. Let. which indicates either higher relative 14N or lower 22Ne contents in the mixed DMM-SMM versus the PSN endmember: this indicates that N is recycled at least 103 times more efficiently than Ne into the CIR mantle.1615 A DMM mass of ~9 × 1026 g (e.5 × 108 mol/yr). Thus.1 ‰ must represent admixture between 23. Importantly. Cartigny and Marty..4 × 1018 moles) of PSN (δ15N = -40 ‰) to give the present-day N-isotopic composition of 1. Kusky et al. Marty. 1989) corresponds to a total inventory of 17. For a total N-content of 27. (2016) 2... The DMM and PLM reservoirs are considered to have evolved to their current δ15N and [N] compositions. the model predicts a regassing N-flux (F PLM ) of ~2.00227. the time integrated DMM regassing rate (F DMM ) is 9.3 × 1027 g would contain 64 × 1018 mol N in the modern day plume-influenced mantle. For both on.4 × 1010 mol/yr since the Archean (2. similar to that described for noble gases by O’Nions and Tolstikhin (1996) and Gonnermann and Mukhopadhyay (2009).Geochemical Perspectives Letters Letter Letter Geochemical Perspectives Letters The CIR data reaffirms the considerable heterogeneity in mantle δ15N signatures (e. the present-day N-isotopic composition of -2. derived from the DMM:PLM reservoirs in the proportion 85:15. i. Let. plotted together with binary mixing curves between a pre-solar nitrogen (PSN) component (15N/14N = 0.3 ‰. as it is controlled by the relative 14N/22Ne ratios of the two endmembers (r-value). 5. Cartigny and Marty. 148-159 | doi: 10. N degassed from the mantle) and is 85 % DMM-derived (4. (4) the present-day mantle N-content ([N]) is ~0.3 ‰. 2012) and two mantle endmember components reflecting addition of 15N-enriched sedimentary MORB mantle (SMM. (3) there is a constant mantle degassing flux of 5 × 109 mol/yr (Cartigny and Marty. Persp. δ15N = -373 ‰. mass balance arguments suggest Ne is efficiently recycled back to the surface during the subduction process (Holland and Ballentine.. Our model is based on a layered mantle reservoir concept. Geochem.9 × 1018 mol N has been degassed from the plume-influenced mantle over 2. given by the CIR data.

If more extreme N-isotope estimates of -4 ‰ and +3 ‰ are taken to approximate DMM and PLM sources. Thus nitrogen not only breaches the subduction barrier beneath arcs but is also transported into the (deep mantle) source region that supplies high 3He/4He mantle plumes. 2013) results in a 2. prior to initiation of subduction-related recycling of N.1 Ga. 148-159 | doi: 10.. Thus.5 Ga with only a marginally higher F PLM /F DMM = 2. the canonical geochemical tracer of deep mantle plumes. Third.e.1 x 1020 moles. The KNOX11RR cruise was funded by UC Ship Funds. 2006. a significantly higher estimate for the mantle N-content of ~36 ppm (Cartigny and Marty. Jackson et al.. 2009). First. F PLM /F DMM ) must be subducted into the plume-influenced mantle. 2016) reveals a strong coupling between 3 He/4He and δ15N signatures. Editor: Graham Pearson Additional Information Supplementary Information accompanies this letter at www. 2. 2008). our model can explain the present-day gross imbalance between the regassing N flux subducted via trenches and the degassing N flux returned to the surface via arc-related volcanism (Hilton et al. 2015). 3. 148-159 | doi: 10. We thank Sami Mikhail. 2012) despite fundamentally different subduction mechanisms: N is fixed as NH4+ and bound in recycled sediments and/or oceanic crust. consistent with recycling of crustal material to the mantle plume source. in order to satisfy the N systematics for both reservoirs. 156 Geochem. geochemicalperspectivesletters. approximately 2. Let.7185/geochemlet. then an identical PLM regassing flux of 2. If subduction is assumed to have initiated earlier in the geological record (e. Alternatively. Selection of different δ15N endmembers for mantle reservoirs or lower initial solar values as input parameters has only a minor effect on model results (Table S-1).9 Ga). Ben Johnson and anonymous reviewers for their constructive and insightful comments. subduction of sedimentary N into the deep mantle would lead to a close relationship between high δ15N values and high 3He/4He ratios.. Table S-1). and can explain the lack of global glaciations in the early Earth due to the faint young Sun (Goldblatt et al. all model scenarios point to long-term cycling of subducted N into Earth’s mantle with preferential storage in the deep (plume) mantle (i. Holland and Ballentine.2 (Fig. 2011). respectively (this work).1615 Geochemical Perspectives Letters Letter Our new reference model has a number of far-reaching implications. The proportion of N regassed into the plume-influenced mantle relative to the DMM (FPLM /FDMM) is shown in boxes at three given time intervals (1. if an estimated modern day N input flux of 7 × 1010 mol/yr (Cartigny and Marty. whereas Kr and Xe undergo no such chemical transformation and instead are simply dissolved in pore fluids and/or in unoccupied amphibole A-sites within subducted oceanic crust (e.9 Ga. we highlight remarkably similar recycling efficiencies between N (84-92 %...g.5 Ga. (2016) 2. it would take the Earth only 1.g. Parai and Mukhopadhyay.8. Busigny et al. (2016) 2. Such a high atmospheric N-content would lead to N-enhanced greenhouse warming. with F PLM /F DMM = 3.9 × 1012 mol/yr with a F PLM /F DMM = 4. Conversely.. Our model indicates that the early atmospheric N content was ~2. then the F PLM /F DMM ratio decreases to ~2. 2002. given the high N recycling efficiencies into DMM (84 %) and PLM (92 %) reservoirs.7185/geochemlet. by oxidation back to molecular form in the mantle wedge) must be relatively minor.6 times more N (i. Recent work on hyaloclastic basaltic glasses in Iceland (Halldórsson et al. Persp. Persp.1615 157 . any losses of slab-derived N to the atmosphere at volcanic arcs ( Reprints and permission information is available online at http://www. this work) and heavy noble gases (73-87 %.2. Condie and Pease. and Graham Pearson for editorial handling..Geochemical Perspectives Letters Letter Figure 3 Nitrogen regassing fluxes (mol/yr) into the mantle as a function of time (Ma) since the onset of subduction.geochemicalperspectivesletters. Acknowledgements This work was supported by NSF grants EAR-0651097 and OCE-0726573. The total flux is equal to the sum of DMM and PLM fluxes. Finally. 1999). the total N content of the atmosphere must have been considerably higher. Let. 2006. Holland and Ballentine.5 Ga regassing flux of 3. 2013) is adopted.1 Ga to evolve to its current N Geochem. or ~50 % higher than at the present-day.e. Significantly.g. Second. 3.4 × 1010 mol/yr is calculated for 2.. respectively (Dauphas and Marty. F PLM /F DMM >2). 3.

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D. Let. Marty and Zimmermann. modern oceanic sediments are enriched in the heavy isotope of nitrogen (i... 2006). Geological Setting The CIR separates the African and Indo-Australian plates and extends over ~3000 km from the Carlsberg Ridge (3. Hoffman and White. 2001). 2013. Johnson and Goldblatt. Parai et al. Barry1.. Persp. Sumino et al. Sarda. 2002. 2010. 2011. 2011. recent studies suggest that air-like values in the deep mantle may be the direct result of subduction (Nagao and Takahashi. 2015. 2002) and ocean island basalts (OIBs. 2003. 2013. Release of subducted sedimentary nitrogen throughout Earth’s mantle P. 2013. 1999. 1998.. 2015. Mikhail and Sverjensky. 2016). Tucker et al.. Jackson et al. Subsequent modifications to mantle N may result from subduction of this material comprised of isotopically distinct N (~+5‰) (Sano et al. 70. Surficial helium is not recycled into the mantle during subduction as it is not gravitationally bound to Earth.. Matsumoto et al. 1986. Peto” et al. 2002). 2010. Persp. However. Sarda et al.. 2012.7185/geochemlet. N-isotope enrichments have been observed in subductionrelated geothermal gases (Fischer et al.. such N-isotope anomalies have rarely been detected in the DMM (Marty and Zimmermann.e. 2006.. and sensitive indicators of crustal/sediment inputs to the mantle due to the large isotopic contrast of noble gases between mantle and crustal/atmospheric reservoirs. (2016) 2. Fischer et al.6 °S. Basalt samples of this study were collected along a segment of the CIR between 16. 2016). Mukhopadhyay..0 °E) southwards towards the Rodrigues Triple Junction (20. Hopp and Ionov.7185/geochemlet. Jackson et al. OX1 3AN. Johnson and Goldblatt. 2013. Halama et al. 2005. 2014. Fluids & Volatiles Laboratory. Bebout et al. 2010). and/or hydrodynamic escape of Earth’s primary atmosphere (Marty. 2012. Hilton 1.ox. This isotopic contrast was likely established early in Earth’s history. 1982. 1999.7 °S and 20.barry@earth. 2003... 2013.. Let. 2013a. UC San SI-1 Geochem...... As a result. The fate of Ne is debated ( Holland and Ballentine. Marty and Dauphas. Li et al. 2014) and acts much like a large ion lithophile element. 2013. reflecting the integrated effects of mantle degassing. krypton and xenon) display values which are intermediate between solar-like and air-dominated isotopic compositions (Holland and Ballentine. Kendrick et al. containing molecularly-bound nitrogen – residual to sub-arc fluid loss – could result in the introduction of high N-isotope signatures into the (deep) mantle (Hofmann and White... California 92093-0244. 2005)... Cartigny et al. (2016) 2. Busigny et al. 2012).H. The large isotopic contrast between terrestrial nitrogen reservoirs makes N a potentially powerful tracer of volatile recycling between the surface and mantle (Li et al. 15N) relative to the DMM. however. Parai and Mukhopadhyay. this study). Palot et al. substituting for K-bearing minerals and sedimentary material. USA 2. 2007. University of Oxford. Marty and Dauphas. Mitchell et al.. subduction of altered oceanic crust and sediments. Halama et al. 2006). 2015. La Jolla. the depleted MORB mantle (DMM) has a lower 15N/14N ratio (by -5 ± 2 ‰) than Earth’s atmosphere (Javoy et al.1615 SI-2 . 1988.b. Cartigny and Marty. 2012. 148-159 | doi: 10. 1988. 2004. Present address: Department of Earth Sciences. 148-159 | doi: 10. thus potentially providing an additional mechanism for monitoring recycling (Honda and Woodhead. located to the north and south of the Marie Celeste Fracture Zone (FZ) and northwest of the Egeria FZ. Sumino et al. Scripps Institution of Oceanography. 1998. Marty and Humbert.. To date.5 °S. Light noble gases (helium and neon) in Earth’s mantle preserve distinct solar-like isotopic compositions. 2010). This led to the hypothesis that Earth’s mantle is insulated from atmospheric heavy noble gas inputs due to an efficient ‘subduction barrier’ for volatiles... 2010. Hilton1 Supplementary Information The Supplementary Information includes: ➣➣ Additional Information and Methods ➣➣ Figures S-1 to S-5 ➣➣ Table S-1 ➣➣ Supplementary Information References Additional Information and Methods Geochemical Tracers of Volatile Recycling into Earth’s Mantle Noble gases are powerful tracers of mantle processes. due to its relatively low abundance in subducted material.R. 1982. UK * Corresponding author (email: peter. 2014). For example. Kendrick et al. Jackson et al. Cartigny et al. where it bifurcates into the Southeast and the Southwest Indian ridges. 1997.1615 Geochemical Perspectives Letters Letter et al..0 °E).0 °N. Li and Keppler. 1993. subducted contributions are generally considered negligible (Holland and Ballentine. 2015. 2001. Mohapatra and Murty. Watenphul et al.2*. whereas heavy noble gases (argon. 2012. 66. For example. Thomazo and Papineau. respectively Geochem. Nitrogen is stable as ammonium under subduction redox conditions (fO2 < QFM. 2004): however.. late heavy bombardment. Heavier noble gas compositions in the mantle were long considered to be independent of subduction as they were believed to be returned back into the atmosphere through subduction volcanism before they could be admixed into the mantle (Staudacher and Allègre.

148-159 | doi: 10. Rodrigues Ridge and Abyssal Hill.7185/geochemlet. Let. Murton et al. Réunion Island is composed of two volcanoes: Piton des Neiges. the Réunion hot spot formed the Deccan Trap flood basalts. which was deflected toward the CIR as it migrated northeastward away from the hot spot. S-1) (Dyment et al. Three shades of colours represent bathymetry data: (1) pale colours are bathymetry “predicted” from satellite altimetry (Smith and Sandwell. Persp. Morgan (1978) proposed that the Rodrigues Ridge was formed by volcanism above a channel of upwelling Réunion hot spot mantle. which they interpreted to reflect the presence of enriched mantle originating at the Réunion hot spot. 2000).. 1997)... several off-axis samples were collected along a perpendicularly offset lineament. Mauritius. S-1. R/V L’Atalante (Dyment et al. Rodrigues islands. the Mascarene Plateau and the Mascarene Islands (Duncan et al.g. Paul et al. The inset shows the Mascarene Islands (i. (2016) 2. Furthermore. Murton et al. Three Magi Ridges. an east-west trending volcanic ridge that is between 8 to 10 Ma old (Duncan et al. 1981. 2003) – Füri et al.. and R/V Hakuho-Maru (Okino et al. Using He isotopes ratios (3He/4He) – the canonical tracer of mantle plume involvement in petrogenesis (Courtillot et al.7185/geochemlet. (3) bright colours are multibeam bathymetric data collected by R/V Revelle in 2007 (Füri et al. Mauritius. the northeastward migrating CIR moved over the Réunion hot spot (Duncan et al. At ~34 Ma. Füri et al. 1989.. Mahoney et al. and predicted a Réunion signature would be present at the intersection of the CIR with a line projected through Réunion and Rodrigues islands.9 °S. Mahoney et al. Map modified from Füri et al. (2006) also targeted a suite of basalts collected both on and off the CIR axis between 18 °S and 20 °S for Sr-Nd-Pb isotopes and showed that the most trace element enriched samples display the most radiogenic Pb isotopic compositions.. The Réunion hot spot is currently located ~1100 km west of the CIR axis (Fig. at the previous site of the Réunion hot spot (~8 Ma) (Morgan.. 2008. 1999.. where volcanic activity began ~530 ka ago (Gillot and Nativel. 1993). they compared basalt samples with submarine Réunion lavas (Fretzdorff SI-3 Geochem. Various models have been proposed to explain the occurrence of volcanism between the Mascarene Islands and the CIR. 2005). Parson et al. 148-159 | doi: 10. 2005). which had subsequently migrated eastward toward the CIR against the direction of motion of the lithosphere. Réunion.. and high 206Pb/204Pb) in basalts from the Marie Celeste FZ portion of the CIR. (2005) conducted a detailed study of this area and reported enrichments in incompatible elements that increased northward. Réunion. it marks the eastern extent of the Rodrigues Ridge.. (1989) later detected this Réunion-like isotope signature (low 143Nd/144Nd. 1989. Persp. 1990).5 Ma (McDougall et al. 1990). During the past ~70 Ma.1615 Figure S-1 Bathymetric map of the (on-axis) CIR and the adjacent (off-axis) Gasitao Ridge. 2000). 1999). Let.e. Smaller en-échelon volcanic ridges at 19 °S (e. (2) intermediate colours represent previous multi-beam bathymetric data from R/V Marion Dufresne (Dyment et al. The circles indicate the location of samples collected during the KNOX11RR (black = CIR on-axis..g. First. red = off-axis) and GIMNAUT (blue) cruises.. and Rodrigues islands) to the west and the Rodrigues Triple Junction. 1965). Several detailed geochemical studies have focused on plume-ridge interaction in the region between the Rodrigues Triple Junction and the Marie Celeste fracture zone. 2011). which extends westward from 66 °E to 64 °E toward the Mascarene Islands (e. S-1). (2016) 2... The CIR axis shoals from north to south along this segment. 2011. In addition. the Three Magi Ridges and the Gasitao Ridge) extend the Rodrigues Ridge close to the CIR (Fig.. and the currently active Piton de la Fournaise..1615 SI-4 . Geochem. the Chagos-Maldive-Laccadive Ridge..Geochemical Perspectives Letters Letter Letter Geochemical Perspectives Letters (Fig. high 87Sr/86Sr.. Nauret et al. (2011) identified plume material flowing eastward toward the CIR on a trajectory that impinges the ridge at ~19. 1989). high 207 Pb/204Pb. which was active between ~2 Ma and 43 ka. Rodrigues Island is located ~600 km east of Mauritius and formed at 1. 2008). 1990) and embedded a “fossil” Réunion hot spot mantle component into the sub-ridge mantle. The island of Mauritius is located 250 km east of Réunion Island and 850 km west of the CIR.

148-159 | doi: 10. gases were purified on a separate vacuum clean-up line (see Barry et al. however.1615 Different noble gas species in the mantle are variably affected by atmosphericcontamination – depending.. Mauritius. using a quadrupole mass spectrometer (QMS). Persp. S-2 and S-3) display non-air-like δ15N and N2/Ar values. these authors proposed that Réunion hot spot material flows eastward toward the CIR on a trajectory that impinges the ridge at ~19. We show that both on-axis and off-axis CIR glasses have markedly (i. as well as a single on-ridge sample collected at ~19. (2012) for details) prior to inlet into the VG5440 mass spectrometer. free of surficial alteration. however. Neon and argon abundances and isotope ratios (as well as He abundances) were measured using a modified VG5440 SI-5 Geochem. In Figure S-4. 2008. these authors showed that the highest 3He/4He values (~12. Geochemical Perspectives Letters Letter mass spectrometer equipped with five Faraday cups and Daly photo-multiplier detector (Craig et al.937 %) are enriched in the Earth’s atmosphere relative to basaltic abundances and therefore basalts are highly susceptible to air-contamination processes. As a result. operated in peak jumping mode.2 ppm) and Ar (0. Isotope Analyses Neon and argon gases were released from basalts using a custom-built pistonactivated in vacuo rock-crusher (see Hahm et al. Furthermore. Atmospheric Neon Correction Although Ne-isotopes in basalts are highly susceptible to air-contamination. Ulrich et al. and were run prior to each sample analysis. representing less than 20 % of the sample size.7185/geochemlet. Rodrigues islands. In addition. on an aliquot of the same gas.g. (1993) for details). 1994). In addition. Let. and the adjacent Gasitao. suggested that these enrichments. Interfering CO species were monitored and CO corrections were applied to all samples. S-1). Subsequently. N2/Ar ratios were measured separately. cumulate dunite xenoliths (n = 4) were collected from Piton Chisny on Réunion Island during a land-based field campaign. respectively (see Niedermann et al. 2012). and thus are not considered to be significantly modified by air-contributions.e.9 °S. on their relative abundances in the mantle versus Earth’s surface reservoirs.. which was operated in static triple collection mode. Füri et al. (2016) 2.. Ne (18. In addition.1615 SI-6 . however. In contrast. Procedural N2 crusher blanks were ~4. Recently. In addition.Geochemical Perspectives Letters Letter and Haase. air-derived Ne contributions can be corrected by assuming that measured neon Geochem.6 °S). (2012) for details). 2002) with infiltration of air into basalts occurring through small micro-fractures. Hahm et al. 1993). (2011). Following the cruise. it occurs only in trace amounts in CIR basalts.9 °S. Nitrogen was released using the same crushing mechanism described above for Ne-Ar. Atmospheric-derived Contamination Sample Collection Twenty-four submarine pillow basalts were dredged from the ocean floor along the CIR axis (16. indicating that air contamination is minimal. Réunion. For example. 20Ne procedural crusher blanks were (15 ± 8) × 10 −12 cm3STP and 40Ar procedural blanks were (6 ± 2) × 10 −9 cm3STP. or large vesicles were handpicked using a binocular microscope. and/or by assimilation of seawater-derived components (Farley and Craig. the majority of CIR samples have N2/Ar ratios well above the air value. and transferred to the crushing apparatus. 2000). dried. along with slightly radiogenic He-isotope values could result from a “fossil” Réunion plume component in the region. Subsequent blank subtractions were applied. we plot δ15N versus the air-normalised He/Ne values ((4He/20Ne)Sample/(4He/20Ne) Air) – a useful indicator of extent of air contamination. cannot be related to influx of mantle material from Réunion. ~100 km to the north. representing less than 10 % of sample yields. Neon results were corrected for procedural blanks and inferences of doublycharged 40Ar and CO2 with 20Ne and 22Ne. approximately 300 mg of dried fresh glass. 2011. Parson et al. The released gas was purified using a dedicated cryogenic separation line whereby Ne and Ar were extracted and analysed individually. Persp. phenocrysts. in part.. and Rodrigues ridges on our Knox11RR expedition (Füri et al. Fig. they concluded that mantle source enrichment in the vicinity of the Marie Celeste FZ.5 × 10 −6 cm3STP on average. Let. The selected glass was then ultrasonically cleaned in a 1:1 acetone-methanol mixture. Sample Preparation Selected basalt samples were first ultrasonically cleaned in dichloromethane to remove any organic contaminants from the glass surface. Nitrogen is the most abundant (~78 %) gaseous species in the atmosphere. which can develop in glasses during seafloor sampling and/or handling in the laboratory (Ballentine and Barfod.2 R A) were measured in glasses from off-axis portions of the CIR.7 °S to 20. Samples identified to be air-like with respect to Ne-Ar isotope systematics (Figs. in agreement with the initial hypothesis put forth by Morgan (1978).7185/geochemlet. 148-159 | doi: 10. and are consistent with flow of hot spot mantle material from Réunion (~100 km to the west) toward the CIR.. Three Magi. Air-like Ne-isotope contributions are ubiquitous in natural samples (Graham.2 ± 0. and thus the potential for atmospheric contamination is substantial. 1993. >2 orders of magnitude) higher 4 He/20Ne ratios than air. appeared to record a Réunion source signature. 2002) and concluded that the radiogenic isotope characteristics of the majority of on-axis samples cannot be explained with a Réunion-like endmember. (2012) showed that trace element and isotopic enrichments in the 18 °S to 20 °S region of the CIR are consistent with a binary mixture between the regional depleted MORB mantle (DMM) source and a recycled Ocean Iceland Basalt (OIB)/plume component. (2016) 2. however. off-axis basalts from the Gasitao Ridge. several off-axis samples were collected along a perpendicularly offset lineament which extends westward from 66 °E to 64 °E toward the Mascarene Islands (e.

we extrapolate measured 20Ne/22 Ne values to “solar” (i. The following equations are used: 21Ne/22 Ne EX = (21Ne/22NeM . 2002. 20Ne/22Ne = 13. Moreira. (4He/ 20Ne)Sample /(4He/ 20Ne)Air > 10 4). note. 1997). Three trend-lines are superimposed on the data: (1) the air-solar mixing line. (1991).0009 and 0.5 ) values in order to estimate aircorrected (i. Persp. The primordial. respectively. (2016) 2. considered to represent implanted solar neon.e. i. 1972. (2) the Réunion line (Hopp and Trieloff..7185/geochemlet. 2000. that selection of this endmember as opposed to Ne-B will not significantly affect the conclusions in the following discussion.1615 SI-8 . Basalt CIR 21Ne/22 Ne EX values vary between 0. 2005.Geochemical Perspectives Letters Letter Figure S-2 Neon three-isotope plot (20Ne/ 22Ne versus 21Ne/ 22Ne) of CIR basaltic glasses and Réunion xenoliths. SI-7 Geochem. S-1 where f22 is the proportion of mantle-derived Ne in a sample: Figure S-3 Ar-isotopes versus Ne-isotopes. however. Kallenbach et al. 2005).8 and 0.g... 148-159 | doi: 10. (3) the DMM (2∏D43) line (Moreira and Allègre.0013 and fall Geochem.8.7185/geochemlet. 2013). (2016) 2. Trieloff et al. Ne-B = 12. High He/Ne values relative to air (>100) suggest that all CIR basalt samples have undergone minimal air-contamination. (4He/ 20Ne)Sample /(4He/ 20Ne)Air > 10 4) and ‘hybrid’ (δ15N = -2 ‰.20Ne/22NeA) / (20Ne/22NeS . Binary mixing trajectories are shown to postulated endmember values for ‘plume = seds’ (δ15N = +1. highest 20Ne content) cannot be corrected due to a 21Ne/22NeM value that is indistinguishable from air. S-2 and 20Ne/22NeA and 21Ne/22NeA are the isotopic ratios of air. The Ne–B endmember is obtained from gas-rich meteorites and lunar soils with a 20Ne/22Ne ratio of 12. Following the methods of Honda et al. Uncertainties are at the 1σ level.52 ± 0.0437 ± 0. Benkert et al. Ne-Ar systematics are coupled for the majority of samples... Let. isotope values represent a binary mixture of atmospheric and mantle-derived neon. assumed to be 9. Let.e.20Ne/22NeA) Eq. whereas 21Ne/22NeM is the measured sample 21Ne/22Ne value and 20Ne/22NeS is the assumed 21Ne/22Ne “solar” (i.0582 ± 0.5‰. 2000). Geochemical Perspectives Letters Letter Figure S-4 N-isotopes (δ15N) versus air-normalised He/Ne values (= 4He/ 20NeS/4He/ 20NeA).e. 1993. Ballentine et al. 1998). Persp.5..18.1615 f22 = (20Ne/22NeM . the most air-like sample (e. Ne-B) neon component (=12. “solar” neon component in Earth’s mantle has also been assumed to be best represented by present-day solar wind (i. 21Ne/22NeEX ) values. Notably. D3-1. Trieloff et al. now present within Earth’s mantle (Black. Only samples with isotopes ratios >1 sigma from air are plotted.029. air-contamination and mantle isotope anomalies are evident in the same samples. 148-159 | doi: 10.e.e.21Ne/22NeA) / f22 + 21Ne/22NeA Eq.

e. whereas off-axis samples range from 0.3 and 2. Using this approach. 4He/40Ar* values close to the mantle production value are measured in Réunion xenoliths. Assuming solar wind samples accurately approximate the proto-solar nebula (PSN. In the case of the present sample suite. 1998). 1998). relative noble gas abundances (e. solar) nitrogen component in the CIR mantle. with the exception of sample D2-1 (4He/40Ar* = 62) and off-axis samples. insignificant radiogenic 40Ar contributions). Fischer et al.e. suggesting moderate but variable amounts of degassing. the air-corrected 21Ne/22 NeEX values of CIR basalts as well as Réunion xenolith samples are plotted against He-isotopes. 2006). 148-159 | doi: 10.0441 ± 0. all 4 He/40Ar* ratios calculated for CIR basalts are higher than the mantle production ratio of ~2 and range from 3. but all δ15N values are indistinguishable within error. together with a series of binary mixing trajectories between postulated primordial (PRIM) and DMM end-members. 2009) and Th/U (O’Nions and McKenzie.7185/geochemlet. 21Ne/22Ne = 0.2. Marty and Zimmermann.0011 to 0.1615 SI-10 . Thus.0328 ± 0. which also suggest that nitrogen isotope variations are independent of degassing. Marty and Humbert.1.8 ± 0. Let. Marty et al.2 ± 0. 2005).g.e. 1986.0513 ± 0. and fall in the range previously measured in Réunion lavas (Hanyu et al..52 ± 0. basalt) 4 He/40Ar* values should increase with increased degassing. another process capable of modifying intrinsic mantle volatile features is degassing.0 to 62. we now focus on additional processes which can modify source features. (2016) 2. Degassing Fractionation In addition to air contamination. which have 4He/40Ar* ratios <~10. Geochem.. Having discussed the importance of identifying air-contaminated samples and applying a correction when necessary. a positive and negative) fields are evident.0017 to 0.0437 ± 0.. In order to test if the observed N-isotope variations result from degassingrelated modification.. Lee et al. this observation is consistent with previous compilation studies of various mid ocean ridge (MOR) and OIB settings (e. 2012. 4 He/40Ar* could not be calculated for two on-axis CIR basalt samples only (D1-1 and D3-1) due to measured air-like 40Ar/36Ar ratios (i. These results indicate that N-isotopes variations are independent of 4He/40Ar* and thus we conclude that N-isotopes of CIR basalts have not experienced degassing-related fractionation.03118 ± 0. The measured He contents and calculated 40Ar*. 2012).31.e. 148-159 | doi: 10.. For example. 2010.0015. with observed Ne-isotope variations best explained by mixing between DMM and primitive Réunion plume-like mantle endmembers (Fig. respectively. 1972) was long regarded as the actual solar composition. We accordingly calculated 21Ne/22Ne of Ne–B as a mixture of these two subcomponents. Using estimates of upper mantle K/U (Arevalo et al. the value given by Black (1972) of 21Ne/22Ne = 0. yielding 21 Ne/22Ne = 0... 1997. 1993).00048. Significantly. The same observation can be made for the negative δ15N field where 4He/40Ar* values range from 2 to 5: however. but more precise than. we plot 4He/40Ar* versus δ15N (Fig. Füri and Marty. Degassing can potentially cause both isotope and relative abundance fractionation.0120. are then combined to give 4He/40Ar* ratios. In this way the measured 40Ar content in each sample can be corrected for the presence of atmospheric Ar to radiogenic Ar (i. as He is more soluble than Ar (SHe/SAr = 9. In the following section. 21Ne/22Ne = 0.0582 ± 0. 2005). and (40Ar/36Ar)A is the air ratio (= 298. 2002.e. we investigate coupled He-Ne-Ar isotope systematics in order to assess if observed co-variations can be explained by mantle-mixing processes. an air-correction is first applied to the argon data by assuming that all 36Ar is derived from the atmosphere. For a primordial starting neon component we choose here 21Ne/22Ne that is associated with solar wind implanted Ne–B (20Ne/22Ne = 12. Two groups are evident: on axis samples. 1986. Lux. On-axis CIR 21Ne/22NeEX values range from 0. 4He/40Ar*) can provide useful information about the mode and extent of volatile loss (Marty and Tolstikhin. Persp.0.0013.Geochemical Perspectives Letters Letter in the range of values observed in previous studies of plume-rift related systems (e. Let.56 ± 0.0108 to 0.g. This value is in agreement with. more deeply implanted and thus separable by stepwise etching of the carrier grains. In contrast. (2016) 2. Jambon et al. 21Ne/22 NeEX values in Réunion xenoliths range from 0. primitive (i. S-3 where 36ArM and (40Ar/36Ar)M are the measured 36Ar abundance and argon isotope ratio. a production ratio for 4He/40Ar* of ~2 (Jambon et al.0005). compared with on-axis samples. 2011.0023. 1987) in basaltic magmas (Marty and Tolstikhin. Marty.1615 Geochemical Perspectives Letters Letter distinct (i..g. (1993) have shown that it is composed of low energetic solar wind particles (20Ne/22Ne = 13. but Benkert et al. Therefore. there may also be a small. positive δ15N samples have 4He/40Ar* values that vary by a factor of 10. Trieloff et al. 2015). Notably. which can be used to determine the extent of degassing. yet exhibit overlapping δ15N values. such as degassing. but detectable... 4He/40Ar* are low (<20).2). both fields have variable 4He/40Ar*.0560 ± 0. Solar Ne–B as found in meteorites (Black. Füri et al. compared to Réunion xenoliths which fall between 1. 40Ar*): 40 Ar* = [36ArM ] × [(40Ar/36Ar)M-(40Ar/36Ar)A] Eq. Notably. which have 4He/40Ar* ratios >~10 with the exception of D26-2 (4 He/40Ar* = 5. 1d) and note that two SI-9 Geochem. In general. Hopp and Trieloff. residual (i.0005) and a mass fractionated high energetic solar energetic particles (SEP) component (20Ne/22Ne = 11. Hahm et al.0295 ± 0.0335 ± 0. nitrogen isotope variability in CIR basalts must be attributed to other processes – either mixing between isotopically distinct components in the mantle source and/or crustal contributions. Higher 4 He/40Ar* ratios in off-axis samples (~5-10 x the production ratio) suggest more extensive degassing in off-axis portions of the crust. Persp. 2001. δ15N values overlap. Significantly. For example.0325 ± 0. 1999) is assumed as a mantle starting value. S-3). Solar Endmembers Ne-isotope variations of CIR basalts suggest a solar component is present in the CIR mantle.5.18). from Equation S-3.. indicating that gas loss was insignificant or very minor..7185/geochemlet. He-Ne Isotope Variability In Figure S-5..

1954).e. whereas the majority of off-axis samples fall between 1 and 5.1 ºS portion of the CIR by closed system radiogenic 4He in-growth in a “fossil” Réunion mantle component.. this range is bracketed by Réunion lava samples (Hanyu et al. Geochem.n) 21Ne and 24Mg (n.e. The single outlying on-axis basalt sample (Fig. S-5).5). we also plot 21Ne/22NeEX versus 4He/3He data fields for previous studies of Réunion lavas (Hanyu et al. 2002). 2001) and Iceland subglacial basalts (Füri et al. which represent the Réunion-plume component as well as an archetypal plume-MOR interaction.02 to 3. S-5). measured 3He/22Ne ratios vary over 2 orders of magnitude (0. 2005) and the DMM 21Ne/22Ne endmember value is estimated to be 0. then lower r-values in off-axis samples suggest a higher relative PRIM 3He/22Ne endmember in the plume source. 148-159 | doi: 10. this finding is consistent with larger contributions from the Réunion-like (i. Since α-particles are derived from U and Th decay. (2016) 2. 148-159 | doi: 10. plotted together with binary mixing curves between a primordial mantle endmember (PRIM) and a DMM-like component. we propose that the He–Ne characteristics of CIR basalt and Réunion xenolith samples are better explained by the binary mixing scenario presented in Figure S-5. SI-11 Geochem. resulting in an increase in the 21Ne/22 Ne ratio and δ21Ne values over time.e. implies a higher 3He/22Ne ratio of the DMM endmember compared to the 3He/22Ne ratio of the primordial mantle component (i. Significantly. The curvature of the hyperbolic mixing lines is described by r = (3He/ 22Ne)DMM /(3He/ 22Ne)PRIM. primitive solar component) is again assumed to be 0. Iceland. 2001). The observed variations between Ne and He isotopes can be described by binary mixing between a primordial mantle endmember (PRIM) and a second endmember similar to DMM. low 3He/4 He) ratios would therefore correlate with high 21Ne/22 NeEX values. 2010). there is no known mechanism that can preserve such large 3He/22Ne disparities within a single mantle domain for such long durations (i. CIR basalt and Réunion xenolith samples do not fall on a single Ne-He mixing curve. For example. we assume a DMM endmember 4He/3He ratio of 90. mixing trajectories for xenolith samples span the entire range observed in CIR basalts (i. radiogenic He (accompanied by insignificant nucleogenic Ne) produced within the crust is a distinct possibility. 2001). in CIR basalts and Réunion xenoliths. Black..1615 SI-12 .4 and 30 to explain observed variations (Fig.000 (= 8 R A) (Graham. (2001) proposed that different mantle reservoirs (i.1615 Letter Geochemical Perspectives Letters If we assume that the DMM endmember 3He/22 Ne ratio is constant throughout the CIR. plume) component.4 and 30).0594 by extrapolating the DMM trajectory (Sarda et al. 2010). however.e. The fact that all basalt samples require r-values greater than unity. who explained low He-isotope (i. However. but rather require r-values between 0. However. Let. (2016) 2. and high 4He/3He (i. the production of radiogenic 4He and nucleogenic 21Ne (21Ne*) should therefore be directly coupled. If mantle heterogeneities were the origin of these variations it would imply that the 3He/22Ne ratio in the mantle source varied by a factor of ~200. Notably. Persp. 3He/4He < DMM) samples observed in the ~18.. air-corrected 21Ne/ 22Ne values) versus 4He/ 3He values of CIR basalts and Réunion xenoliths. S-2. all Réunion xenolith samples plot closer to the PRIM endmember compared with CIR basalt samples and overlap with Réunion lavas (Hanyu et al. The curvature of binary mixing trajectories is controlled by the r-value = (3He/22Ne)DMM / (3He/22Ne)PLUME .e. data fields are shown for Réunion lavas (Hanyu et al.7185/geochemlet. 4He/3He = 2580). (2011). with one outlier with an r-value of 30.. Persp. Therefore. and Iceland (Füri et al.g. 1972.e. In addition.e. Moreira et al. unlike Ne-N relationships. This observation in agreement with the conclusions of Füri et al. Figure S-5 (21Ne/ 22Ne) EX (i. Furthermore. both values were measured in gas-rich meteorite samples... 1988) to the 20Ne/22Ne of Ne-B (= 12.03118 (Trieloff and Kunz.e.. Apart from one obvious outlier.7185/geochemlet. 2001). 2010).. D8-2 is marked by lower than DMM He-isotopes and thus an additional endmember (with low 3He/4He) is required to account for the He–Ne systematics.Geochemical Perspectives Letters Letter The  21Ne/22Ne of PRIM (i.e. and a primitive (PRIM) He-isotope endmember value of 280 R A (Black. consistent with a higher 3He/22Ne plume contribution in the admixture. An alternative explanation for variations in 21Ne/22 Neex values between presumed upper and lower mantle reservoirs is elemental He/Ne heterogeneities in the mantle. In this regard. which span an even broader range (Fig. Füri et al. on-axis CIR samples plot close to PRIM-DMM mixing curves with r-values between 1 and 30. However. 1972). For reference. r-values between ~0.. In the case of He-isotopes. Let. Nucleogenic 21Ne is generated by the 18 O (α. DMM versus PRIM) could have evolved from the same He and Ne isotope compositions but with distinct 3He/22Ne ratios and that subsequent ingrowth of nucleogenic 21Ne and radiogenic 4He have produced the observed range in 21Ne/22Neex and 3He/4He values. D8-2) falls outside the mixing envelope defined by the series of binary mixing curves between PRIM and DMM endmembers.α) 21Ne reactions (Wetherill.93). which were identified in the Ne-N isotope systematics of sample D8-2. CIR basalts resemble other plume-related glasses (e. (3He/22Ne)DMM > (3He/22Ne)PRIM ). over Earth history).e. consistent with the Ne-B component (i.

Chemical Geology 362.. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems 13.27 0. B.A.1 16.5 Ga and 3.27 0.5 58.4 2 Barry.1 2.1 16..9 19. Ballentine.2 -40 -40 -40 36 36 36 1.1 17 3 2.8 3..1 2. (2005) Neon isotopes constrain convection and volatile origin in the Earth’s mantle.27 0.27 ppm and 36 ppm are from Marty (2012) and Cartigny and Marty (2013).5 3. Let. (2001) and Condie and Pease (2008). M. C. 33–38. respectively. C.4 4.27 1.3 Johnson and Goldblatt. D. Baur.9 Ga are based on Cartigny and Marty (2013).g. K rapez..7 3. c Initial mantle [N] endmember contents of 0.2 17.5 3.3 17..3 -40 -40 -40 36 36 36 1.9 8.J. D.7 9. R. O.6 2.. (2012) High precision -383 -383 -383 36 36 36 1. 1999 SI-13 -1.9 2065 911 601 7653 3376 2229 3.R. Luong. Lebeau. (1993) He. B. Signer. Lollar.7 58.5 3.27 1. (2016) Pathways for nitrogen cycling in Earth’s crust and upper mantle: A review and new results for microporous beryl and cordierite.2 3. Values in italics are assumptions.5 3.5 3.2 2.8 2. M arty.27 0.4 4.5 3. Let.1 Ga. Barfod. 13147–13162.7 3.H..7 3. Persp.27 2. Black.9 8.7 3.9 1815 801 529 7317 3222 2124 4 4 4 Ballentine.5 3. Earth -383 -383 -383 0.E. OIB-source) mantle source regions from these studies are used.1 -4 2. Studya DMM End member δ15N (‰) PLM End member δ15N (‰) This study -2. 7-24.P.3 53.. 148-159 | doi: 10. M.1 2.7 11 8.9 2061 905 596 7739 3392 2229 3. 2.7 3..5 3 Initial Mantle End member δ15N (‰)b Regassing Starting Regassing Onset of Flux [N] of Flux (FPLM) subduction (FDMM) F /F mantle (×109mol/ PLM DMM (Ga)d (×109mol/ (ppm)c yr) yr) Studya DMM End member δ15N (‰) PLM End member δ15N (‰) Initial Mantle End member δ15N (‰)b Regassing Starting Regassing Onset of Flux [N] of Flux (FPLM) subduction (FDMM) F /F mantle (×109mol/ PLM DMM (Ga)d (×109mol/ c (ppm) yr) yr) -383 -383 -383 0.6 2. Elements 9.27 1. 148-159 | doi: 10. D. Persp. V.4 7. d Onset of subduction estimates of 1.3 24.1 2. 359-366.1 2.4 2 -383 -383 -383 36 36 36 1.5 3 2..4 2.4 7.5 3.C. H.A.27 1. J. Gas-rich meteorites.27 1. and Ar from the solar-wind and solar energetic particles in lunar ilmenites and pyroxenes.E. neon and argon isotopic variations in meteorites – I.7 -40 0. remaining values are model output.. M arty.1615 a The average N-isotope values for the modern DMM and PLM (e.5 3. (1972) On the origins of trapped helium.7 11 8. American Mineralogist 101. b Initial mantle δ15N endmember values of -40 ‰ and -383 ‰ are from Cartigny and Marty (2013) and Marty et al.3 26.5 10.9 1684 744 491 7416 3269 2152 4.3 26.1 16.1 2. nitrogen isotope measurements in oceanic basalts using a static triple collection noble gas mass spectrometer.4 3 2.. McDonough.5 -40 -40 0. H ahm. R. (2016) 2.9 16. B... Ne.5 3.N. Wieler. Geiger. 115-130.2 -40 -40 0.5 3. Geochem. (2009) The K/U ratio of the silicate Earth: Insights into mantle composition.1 2. G.4 Geochem.7 3. Bebout.27 0. Benkert.4 2 -383 -383 -383 36 36 36 1. Kusky et al.27 0.9 19.9 19. 347–375. D. M arti.9 9.J.6 58. Journal of Geophysical Research – Planets 98.Geochemical Perspectives Letters Letter Geochemical Perspectives Letters Letter Table S-1 Mantle regassing sensitivity to various input parameters. A..1 16 56.5 3.5 24.9 2074 914 602 7726 3402 2244 3.1615 SI-14 .. A der.27 0.5 26.S. structure and thermal evolution. W. B. and Planetary Science Letters 180. Bekker.7 -40 0. Supplementary Information References A revalo.27 0.1 2..2 15. H ilton.7185/geochemlet. S. respectively. (2016) 2.1 2. 2015 Dauphas and Marty. Busigny.27 2.27 0. K. (2000) The origin of air-like noble gases in MORB and OIB. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 36. 361-369.27 0. K.7 -40 -40 -40 0. Nature 433.1 2.7185/geochemlet. C artigny..8 54.. (2013) Nitrogen isotopes and mantle geodynamics: The emergence of life and the atmosphere–crust–mantle connection..27 1. C assidy. Q01019.5 3. P. L azzeri..1 -40 -40 -40 36 36 36 1. respectively. C. P. 39–48.9 7 25. M.2 2. P. (2013) Nitrogen cycle in a Late Archean ferruginous ocean. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 278. H alldórsson.9 1767 781 517 7106 3133 2071 4 4 4 -383 -383 -383 0.F.1 1. lunar soil and breccia. (2011).

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