New Re-Os isotopic results for Os-poor basalts from St. Helena, the Comores, Samoa, Pitcairn and Kerguelen dramatically expand the known range of initial Os-186/Os-187 ratios in OIBs to values as high as 1.7. In contrast to the Os isotopic uniformity of Os-rich basalts from the HIMU islands of Tubuai and Mangaia found by Hauri and Hart , our values for St, Helena span most of the known range of Os isotopic variability in oceanic basalts (initial Os-187/Os-186 ranges from 1.2 to 1.7). Generation of such radiogenic Os in the mantle requires melting of source materials that contain large proportions of recycled oceanic crust. The very low Os concentrations of most of the basalts analyzed here, however, leave them susceptible to modification via interaction with materials containing radiogenic Os in the near-surface environment. Thus the high Os-186/Os-187 ratios may result from assimilation of radiogenic Os-rich marine sediments, such as Mn oxides, within the volcanic piles traversed by these magmas en route to the surface. Furthermore, the Os isotopic signatures of Os-rich, olivine-laden OIBs may reflect the accumulation of lithospheric olivine, rather than simply their mantle source characteristics. The extent to which these processes alter the view of the mantle obtained via study of Re-Os systematics in oceanic basalts is uncertain. These effects must be quantified before Re-Os systematics in OIBs can be used with confidence to investigate the nature of mantle heterogeneity and its causes.
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