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Production of 21Ne in depth-profiled olivine from a 54 Ma basalt sequence, Eastern Highlands (37° S), Australia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Erin L. Matchan
  • Masahiko Honda
  • Dr Tim Barrows
  • David Phillips
  • Allan R. Chivas
  • Keith Fifield
  • Derek Fabel

In this study we investigate the cosmogenic neon component in olivine samples from a vertical profile in order to quantify muogenic 21Ne production in this mineral. Samples were collected from an 11 m thick Eocene basalt profile in the Eastern Highlands of southeastern Australia. An eruption age of 54.15 ± 0.36 Ma (2σ) was determined from 40Ar/39Ar step-heating experiments (n = 6) on three whole-rock samples. A 36Cl profile on the section indicated an apparent steady state erosion rate of 4.7 ± 0.5 m Ma−1. The eruption age was used to calculate in situ produced radiogenic 4He and nucleogenic 3He and 21Ne concentrations in olivine. Olivine mineral separates (n = 4), extracted from the upper two metres of the studied profile, reveal cosmogenic 21Ne concentrations that attenuate exponentially with depth. However, olivine (Fo68) extracted from below 2 m does not contain discernible 21Ne aside from magmatic and nucleogenic components, with the exception of one sample that apparently contained equal proportions of nucleogenic and muogenic neon. Modelling results suggest a muogenic neon sea-level high-latitude production rate of 0.02 ± 0.04 to 0.9 ± 1.3 atoms g−1 a−1 (1σ), or <2.5% of spallogenic cosmogenic 21Ne production at Earth's surface. These data support a key implicit assumption in the literature that accumulation of muogenic 21Ne in olivine in surface samples is likely to be negligible/minimal compared to spallogenic 21Ne.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-290
Number of pages15
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Early online date28 Sep 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


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