Atmospheric sulfur is recycled to the crystalline continental crust during supercontinent formation

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Abstract

The sulfur cycle across the lithosphere and the role of this volatile element in the metasomatism of the mantle at ancient cratonic boundaries are poorly constrained. We address these knowledge gaps by tracking the journey of sulfur in the assembly of a Proterozoic supercontinent using mass independent isotope fractionation (MIF-S) as an indelible tracer. MIF-S is a signature that was imparted to supracrustal sulfur reservoirs before the ~2.4 Ga Great Oxidation Event. The spatial representation of multiple sulfur isotope data indicates that successive Proterozoic granitoid suites preserve Δ33S up to +0.8‰ in areas adjacent to Archean cratons. These results indicate that suturing of cratons began with devolatilisation of slab-derived sediments deep in the lithosphere. This process transferred atmospheric sulfur to a mantle source reservoir, which was tapped intermittently for over 300 million years of magmatism. Our work tracks pathways and storage of sulfur in the lithosphere at craton margins.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4380
JournalNature Communications
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

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