Melt inclusion evidence for CO2-rich melts beneath the western branch of the East African Rift: implications for long-term storage of volatiles in the deep lithospheric mantle

T. R. Hudgins, S. B. Mukasa, A. C. Simon, G. Moore, E. Barifaijo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


We present new major element, trace element, and volatile (H2O, CO2, S, F, and Cl) concentrations of olivine-hosted melt inclusions from five high-K, low-silica basanites from the western branch of the East African Rift System and use these data to investigate the generation of H2O- and CO2-rich melts at up to ~150 km depth. Measured H2O and CO2 concentrations reach ~2.5 and ~1 wt%, respectively, representing some of the highest CO2 concentrations measured in a melt inclusion to date. These measurements represent direct evidence of the high CO2 and H2O concentrations required to generate high-K alkaline lavas, and the CO2 that has been previously inferred to be necessary for the low mantle potential temperatures in the area. Ratios of CO2/Nb, CO2/Ba, and CO2/Cl are used to estimate an initial melt CO2 concentration of 5–12 wt%. The measured CO2 concentrations are consistent with CO2 solubilities determined by molecular dynamics calculations and high-pressure experiments for melt generation at 3–6 GPa; the depth of melting suggested by previous studies in the area. These melt inclusions measurements represent direct evidence for the presence of H2O- and CO2-rich melts in the deep upper mantle that have been proposed based on experimental and seismic evidence. Primitive-mantle normalized trace element patterns more closely resemble those found in subduction settings rather than ocean island basalt, and ratios of slab fluid tracers such as Li/Dy and B/Be indicate that the measured volatile abundances may be related to Neoproterozoic subduction during the assembly of Gondwana, implying the storage of volatiles in the mantle by subduction-related metasomatism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


  • Alkaline volcanism
  • Basanites
  • East African Rift
  • Melt inclusions
  • Metasomatism
  • Subduction
  • Volatiles (HO, CO, S, F, Cl)


Dive into the research topics of 'Melt inclusion evidence for CO<sub>2</sub>-rich melts beneath the western branch of the East African Rift: implications for long-term storage of volatiles in the deep lithospheric mantle'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this