Sulfur mineralogy and geochemistry of serpentinites and gabbros of the Atlantis Massif (IODP Site U1309)
In-situ uplifted portions of oceanic crust at the central dome of the Atlantis Massif (Mid-Atlantic Ridge, 30°N) were drilled during Expeditions 304 and 305 of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) and a 1.4 km section of predominantly gabbroic rocks with minor intercalated ultramafic rocks were recovered. Here we characterize variations in sulfur mineralogy and geochemistry of selected samples of serpentinized peridotites, olivine-rich troctolites and diverse gabbroic rocks recovered from Hole 1309D. These data are used to constrain alteration processes and redox conditions and are compared with the basement rocks of the southern wall of the Atlantis Massif, which hosts the Lost City Hydrothermal Field, 5 km to the south. The oceanic crust at the central dome is characterized by Ni-rich sulfides reflecting reducing conditions and limited seawater circulation. During uplift and exhumation, seawater interaction in gabbroic-dominated domains was limited, as indicated by homogeneous mantle-like sulfur contents and isotope compositions of gabbroic rocks and olivine-rich troctolites. Local variations from mantle compositions are related to magmatic variability or to interaction with seawater-derived fluids channeled along fault zones. The concomitant occurrence of mackinawite in olivine-rich troctolites and an anhydrite vein in a gabbro provide temperature constraints of 150-200 °C for late circulating fluids along local brittle faults below 700 m depth. In contrast, the ultramafic lithologies at the central dome represent domains with higher seawater fluxes and higher degrees of alteration and show distinct changes in sulfur geochemistry. The serpentinites in the upper part of the hole are characterized by high total sulfide contents, high δ34S sulfide values and low δ34S sulfate values, which reflect a multistage history primarily controlled by seawater-gabbro interaction and subsequent serpentinization. The basement rocks at the central dome record lower oxygen fugacities and more limited fluid fluxes compared with the serpentinites and gabbros of the Lost City hydrothermal system. Our studies are consistent with previous results and indicate that sulfur speciation and sulfur isotope compositions of altered oceanic mantle sequences commonly evolve over time. Heterogeneities in sulfur geochemistry reflect the fact that serpentinites are highly sensitive to local variations in fluid fluxes, temperature, oxygen and sulfur fugacities, and microbial activity.