Catherine Chauvel

Director of  Research CNRS  GEOCHEMIST


I use geochemical tools to understand the formation of terrestrial rocks and the long-term evolution of mantle and crust.

See below some highlights



moving soon to IPGP, Paris, France


Research interests

  1. Grenoble

Island arcs with focus on the Lesser Antilles arc system

Together with PhD students, we evaluate and quantify the geochemical budget of the Lesser Antilles arc.  The proportion of the incoming material (oceanic crust and sediments) contributing to the arc lavas is calculated using trace elements and radiogenic isotopes.  The proportion of the subducted material that is sent back into the convecting mantle is then estimated.  

Sediment contamination of the mantle wedge under Martinique Island

From Labanieh et al. J. Pet. 2012, see also Labanieh et al. EPSL 2010

Martinique island

Picture Shasa Labanieh

Continental crust and sediments

From Chauvel et al. G-cubed 2009

Oceanic sediments: understanding their influence on Nd and Hf isotopic compositions of volcanic rocks.  

latest update August 2017

Composition of sediments entering the Lesser Antilles subduction zone From Carpentier et al. EPSL 2009, see also Carpentier et al. EPSL 2008

Loess worldwide:

new estimate of the average Nd-Hf isotopic composition and Lu/Hf ratio of the upper continental crust  

From Garçon et al. Chem Geol 2011

Mantle geochemistry

How recycled oceanic crust and sediments create the Nd-Hf mantle array

From Chauvel et al. Nature Geoscience 2008

From Chauvel et al. G-cubed 2012

Maps of chemical changes across Martinique Island

From Labanieh et al. Journal of Petrology 2012

Marquesas islands: isotopic stripes and size of plume heterogeneities.  

The entering pile

The volcanic output

All what we can learn from the study of Ganges sediments!!

Nd and Hf isotopes are decoupled by sedimentary processes in modern rivers. This has profound impact on the long-term composition of the mantle

From Garçon et al. GCA 2013

See also Garçon et al. G-cubed 2013 for a new estimate of Pb in upper continental crust

How much U is lost from continents through weathering?

Vast amounts of U leave continents due to weathering. The Th/U ratio increases from 3 to about 7 when the crust has been exposed for over 1 Ga

From Carpentier et al. Chem Geol 2013

Continental sediments:

tracking the history of a continental area with just one sample: a placer.  

From Chauvel et al. EPSL 2014