Lead isotope study of basic-ultrabasic layered complexes: Speculations about the age of the earth and primitive mantle characteristics
In order to explore mantle heterogeneity through geological time, Pb isotopic compositions have been determined for 8 differentiated-layered intrusions whose ages are between 2.7 and 0.05 b.y.. The Pb-Pb ages of these intrusions and the U-Pb characteristics of their parent sources are discussed. The Pb-Pb dating method is found to be applicable for this type of basic or ultrabasic rocks and agrees satisfactorily with other available methods. Significant differences are found between the calculated values for the parent bodies of these intrusions. This could reflect either mantle heterogeneity since Archean times, or contamination of some of the bodies by continental crust. Discrimination between these hypotheses can be proposed from the positions of the initial Sr ratios of these massives in respect to the supposed "terrestrial" evolution line. The two intrusions which plot on that closed system Sr evolution line (Muntsche Tundra, U.S.S.R., and Skaergaard, Greenland) belong also to a simple two-stage evolution model for Pb, with a low first-stage μ value of 7.8. If these two bodies are considered as pieces of a "primitive" closed-system mantle, a 4.55 ± 0.01 age of the earth can be calculated from their Pb initial ratios.