Noble gas transport into the mantle facilitated by high solubility in amphibole

Jackson, Colin R.M.; Parman, Steven W.; Kelley, Simon P. and Cooper, Reid F. (2013). Noble gas transport into the mantle facilitated by high solubility in amphibole. Nature Geoscience, 6(7) pp. 562–565.




The chemical evolution of both the Earth’s atmosphere and mantle can be traced using noble gases. Their abundance in mantle and atmosphere is largely determined by a balance between the flux of noble gases from the Earth’s interior through magmatism, and the recycling of noble gases from the atmosphere back into the mantle at subduction zones. The flux of noble gases back into the mantle has long been thought to be negligible. Analyses of samples from the mantle now suggest that this recycling flux is more significant, but the mechanism is unclear. Here we present high-pressure experimental measurements that demonstrate high solubility of noble gases in amphibole, an important hydrous mineral in altered oceanic crust. Noble gas solubility correlates with the concentration of unoccupied A-sites, sites within the amphibole lattice structure that are constituted by a pair of opposing tetrahedra rings. We conclude that A-sites are energetically favourable locations for noble gas dissolution in amphibole that could allow recycling of noble gases into the mantle by subduction of altered oceanic crust. As many hydrous minerals in subducting slabs, such as serpentine and chlorite, have lattice structures similar to the A-site in amphibole, we suggest that these minerals may provide even more significant recycling pathways.

Viewing alternatives

Download history


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions

Item Actions