2014 Volume 48 Issue 5 Pages 433-449
To ascertain factors controlling melt production along a typical distal, ‘hotspot-interacting’ mid-ocean ridge, we investigated the extent and distribution of both plume-related and plume-unrelated basalt from the central Indian ridge (CIR) between 15°S and 20°S. Comprehensive geochemical data of fresh-quenched volcanic glasses and basalts were used. Variation of Sr, Nd, and Pb isotopic compositions and Nb/Zr, Ba/Nb, and Ba/La content were interpreted by mixing of three melt end members: the Indian depleted MORB mantle derived melt; radiogenic and enriched melt derived from source mantle for Rodrigues Ridge and the intermediate series of Mauritius Island (RE2, radiogenic enriched component 2); and radiogenic but depleted melt derived from source mantle for Gasitao Ridge (RD, radiogenic depleted component). On the basis of quantitative mantle melting and melt mixing model, results show that sources for RE2 and RD are geochemically distinct from those of the Réunion plume (RE1, radiogenic enriched melt component 1). Moreover, the geochemical variation of MORB of 15°S to 20°S is unrelated to contamination of the upper mantle by the Réunion plume. These results suggest strongly that plume-unrelated heterogeneity is widespread throughout the upper mantle. The chemical characteristics of RE2 are remarkably pronounced in basalt from the central portion of ridge segment 16 around 18°S, suggesting substantial magma production. The influence of RE2 decreases along with decreasing magma production to the north, and is only slightly identifiable in basalt from the northern part of segment 18. Although the influence of RE2 decreases somewhat to the south, basalts with extreme RE2 signature were produced in the center of segment 15 around 19°S, where magma production is high. In contrast to RE2, the geochemical signature of RD in basalt is geographically limited to two localities: the south end of segment 18 and the center of segment 15. However, these observations reveal that both RE2 and RD contribute strongly to magma production on segment 15. Results show that melting of ancient recycled plate materials with a low melting point regulates voluminous magma production along the CIR.