skip to main content

Title: Experimental study of metamorphic reactions and dehydration processes at the blueschist–eclogite transition during warm subduction

The transition between blueschist and eclogite plays an important role in subduction zones via dehydration and densification processes in descending oceanic slabs. There are a number of previous petrological studies describing potential mineral reactions taking place at the transition. An experimental determination of such reactions could help constrain the pressure–temperature conditions of the transition as well as the processes of dehydration. However, previous experimental contributions have focused on the stability of spontaneously formed hydrous minerals in basaltic compositions rather than on reactions among already formed blueschist facies minerals. Therefore, this study conducted three groups of experiments to explore the metamorphic reactions among blueschist facies minerals at conditions corresponding to warm subduction, where faster reaction rates are possible on the time scale of laboratory experiments. The first group of experiments was to establish experimental reversals of the reaction glaucophane+paragonite to jadeite+pyrope+quartz+H2O over the range of 2.2–3.5 GPa and 650–820°C. This reaction has long been treated as key to the blueschist–eclogite transition. However, only the growth of glaucophane+paragonite was observed at the intersectional stability field of both paragonite and jadeite+quartz, confirming thermodynamic calculations that the reaction is not stable in the system Na2O–MgO–Al2O3–SiO2–H2O. The second set of experiments involved unreversed experiments using glaucophane+zoisite ±quartz in low‐Fe and Ca‐rich systems and were run at 1.8–2.4 GPa and 600–780°C. These produced omphacite+paragonite/kyanite+H2O accompanied by compositional shifts in the sodium amphibole, glaucophane, towards sodium–calcium amphiboles such as winchite (☐(CaNa)(Mg4Al)Si8O22(OH)2) and barroisite (☐(CaNa)(Mg3Al2)(AlSi7)O22(OH)2). This suggests that a two‐step dehydration occurs, first involving the breakdown of glaucophane+zoisite towards a paragonite‐bearing assemblage, then the breakdown of paragonite to release H2O. It also indicates that sodium–calcium amphibole can coexist with eclogite phases, thereby extending the thermal stability of amphibole to greater subduction zone depths. The third set of experiments was an experimental investigation at 2.0–2.4 GPa and 630–850°C involving a high‐Fe (Fe#=Fetotal/(Fetotal+Mg)≈0.36) natural glaucophane, synthetic paragonite and their eclogite‐forming reaction products. The results indicated that garnet and omphacite grew over most of these pressure–temperature conditions, which demonstrates the importance of Fe‐rich glaucophane in forming the key eclogite assemblage of garnet+omphacite, even under warm subduction zone conditions. Based on the experiments of this study, reaction between glaucophane+zoisite is instrumental in controlling dehydration processes at the blueschist–eclogite transition during warm subduction.

more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
Publisher / Repository:
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Metamorphic Geology
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 39-56
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Examination of a global suite of eclogite-facies metabasites and metasediments suggests that eclogites tend to exhibit reduced mineral assemblages relative to their protoliths. High-pressure rocks tend to lack sulfides and Fe3+-bearing oxides in the eclogite facies. We suggest that eclogite-facies mineral assemblages are consistent with prograde reactions that balance the oxidation of S2- or S- to S6+ by reducing Fe3+in silicates or oxides: (1)8Fe3+Si O (OH) +S2-=8Fe2+Si O +SO 2-+(H O) abc de42f The oxidation of one mole of S2-or S-is balanced by the reduction of 7 to 8 moles of Fe3+, and typical S concentrations in the oceanic crust are capable of fully reducing the entire Fe3+ budget of metabasites. As most eclogite facies rocks do not preserve peak metamorphic sulfides, petrographic evidence for prograde S oxidation reactions are cryptic; however, textures associated with sulfate reduction in response to influx of external fluids are common (reaction 1 in reverse). These reactions produce Fe3+-rich phases and are observed in both metasedimentary and metabasic rocks across a range of retrograde P-T paths (blueschist to granulite facies). For example, high-P calc- schists exhibit reaction textures that suggest the breakdown of garnet and white mica to produce pyrite + chalcopyrite + epidote + biotite + magnetite. Our thermodynamic models of aS2 and aO2 at subduction zone P-T conditions suggest assemblages of this type are indicative of aO2 0.7 to 4.5 log units above the quartz-fayalite-magnetite buffer. In rehydrated eclogites, pyrite is commonly associated with the breakdown of garnet + omphacite to amphibole + pyrite. Additionally, direct precipitation of sulfide from sulfate is observed in two samples: 1) The retrograde assemblage pyrite + ilmenite + gypsum occurs in one retrogressed metagabbroic eclogite, and 2) Coronas of secondary pyrite + barite + gypsum enclose early retrograde pyrite in a retrogressed garnet blueschist. In many eclogites, S- is reduced to S2- as pyrite is replaced by pyrrhotite, chalcopyrite, and mixed valence Co-Ni sulfides. These reactions are balanced by oxidation of divalent to trivalent Fe-Co-Ni. Reactions of this type are consistent with increasing aS2 during retrograde metamorphism. Thus, ample evidence exists for oxidized S-bearing fluids released from subducting slabs. 
    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    (Mg,Fe)O ferropericlase‐magnesiowüstite has been proposed to host the majority of Earth's sodium, but the mechanism and capacity for incorporating the alkali cation remain unclear. In this work, experiments in the laser‐heated diamond anvil cell and first‐principles calculations determine the solubility of sodium and favorability of sodium incorporation in iron‐rich magnesiowüstite relative to (Mg,Fe)SiO3bridgmanite. Reaction of Mg/(Mg + Fe) (Mg#) 55 and 28 olivine with NaCl at 33–128 GPa and 1600–3000 K produces iron‐rich magnesiowüstite containing several percent sodium, while iron‐rich bridgmanite contains little to no detectable sodium. In sodium‐saturated magnesiowüstite, sodium number [Na/(Na + Mg + Fe)] is 2–5 atomic percent at pressures below 60 GPa and drastically increases to 10–20 atomic percent at deep lower mantle pressures. For these two compositions, there is no significant dependence of the results on Mg#. Our calculations not only show consistent results with experiments but further indicate that such an increase in solubility and partitioning of Na into magnesiowüstite is driven by the spin transition in iron. These results provide fundamental constraints on the crystal chemistry of sodium at lower‐mantle conditions. If the sodium capacity of (Mg,Fe)O is not strongly dependent on Mg#, (Mg,Fe)O in the lower mantle may have the capacity to store the entire sodium budget of the Earth.

    more » « less
  3. Abstract The 13 single-crystal adiabatic elastic moduli (Cij) of a C2/c jadeite sample close to the ideal composition (NaAlSi2O6) and a natural P2/n diopside-rich omphacite sample have been measured at ambient condition by Brillouin spectroscopy. The obtained Cij values for the jadeite sample are: C11 = 265.4(9) GPa, C22 = 247(1) GPa, C33 = 274(1) GPa, C44 = 85.8(7) GPa, C55 = 69.3(5) GPa, C66 = 93.0(7) GPa, C12 = 84(1) GPa, C13 = 66(1) GPa, C23 = 87(2) GPa, C15 = 5.4(7) GPa, C25 = 17(1) GPa, C35 = 28.7(6) GPa, C46 = 14.6(6) GPa. Voigt-Reuss-Hill averaging of the Cij values yields aggregate bulk modulus KS = 138(3) GPa and shear modulus G = 84(2) GPa for jadeite. Systematic analysis combing previous single-crystal elasticity measurements within the diopside-jadeite solid solution indicates that the linear trends are valid for most Cij values. The νp and νs of omphacite decrease with diopside content, though the velocity changes are small as diopside component exceeds 70%. We also found that both the isotropic νp and νs, as well as the seismic anisotropy of eclogite, changed strongly with the bulk-chemical composition. The relationship between the anisotropic velocities of eclogite and the chemical composition can be a useful tool to trace the origin of the eclogitic materials in the Earth's mantle. 
    more » « less
  4. The large range in oxidation states of sulfur (-II to +VI) provides it with a large oxidation potential in rocks, even at relatively low concentrations. Most importantly, the transition from sulfide to sulfate species in rocks and silicate melts occurs in the same approximate fO2 region (for a given temperature) as the transition from ferrous to ferric iron, and reduced S species can coexist with oxidized Fe and vice versa. The result is a large potential for reactions involving sulfur to oxidize or reduce Fe in silicate minerals, since Fe only occurs in two oxidation states (+II and +III). In order for sulfur to be released during slab dehydration, sulfur in sulfide must be converted into an easily dissolved species, such as SO42− or H2S, through either oxidation or reduction. We propose that oxidation of sulfur in sulfide follows the generalized reaction: 8Fe3+SiaOb(OH)c +S2− = 8Fe2+SidOe +SO42− +(H2O)f (1) In this type of reaction, sulfur participates in the dehydration of greenschist- or blueschist-facies hydrous silicates during transition to the eclogite facies: ferric Fe in Fe-bearing silicates (chlorite, amphibole, epidote) is reduced to ferrous Fe in anhydrous ferromagnesian silicates (pyroxene, garnet). At the same time, the reaction consumes sulfide by oxidation of S2− to produce SO42−, which is readily dissolved in the fluid produced during dehydration. Additionally, a similar redox reaction could oxidize sulfur by reducing ferric Fe in oxides. It is important to note that one mole of S has the same redox potential as 8 moles of Fe. The molar ratio of 8 moles of Fe per 1 mole of S translates to a mass ratio of approximately 14; therefore, small concentrations of sulfur can have a large impact on reduction/oxidation of the silicate assemblage. Our observations show that sulfide minerals that can be identified as primary or related to the peak metamorphic stage are rare in eclogites and restricted to inclusions in garnet, consistent with reaction (1). Thermodynamic modeling is currently underway to assess the influence of sulfur on the phase equilibria of silicate phases during high pressure metamorphism. 
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    Seismic anisotropy constitutes a useful tool for imaging the structure along the plate interface in subduction zones, but the seismic properties of mafic blueschists, a common rock type in subduction zones, remain poorly constrained. We applied the technique of electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) based petrofabric analysis to calculate the seismic anisotropies of 14 naturally deformed mafic blueschists at dry, ambient conditions. The ductilely deformed blueschists were collected from terranes with inferred peak P‐T conditions applicable to subducting slabs at or near the plate interface in active subduction zones. Epidote blueschists display the greatestPwave anisotropy range (AVp ∼7%–20%), while lawsonite blueschist AVp ranges from ∼2% to 10%.Swave anisotropies generate shear wave splitting delay times up to ∼0.1 s over a thickness of 5 km. AVp magnitude increases with glaucophane abundance (from areal EBSD measurements), decreases with increasing epidote or lawsonite abundance, and is enhanced by glaucophane crystallographic preferred orientation (CPO) strength. Two‐phase rock recipe models provide further evidence of the primary role of glaucophane, epidote, and lawsonite in generating blueschist seismic anisotropy. The symmetry ofPwave velocity patterns reflects the deformation‐induced CPO type in glaucophane—an effect previously observed for hornblende on amphibolitePwave anisotropy. The distinctive seismic properties that distinguish blueschist from other subduction zone rock types and the strong correlation between anisotropy magnitude/symmetry and glaucophane CPO suggest that seismic anisotropy may be a useful tool in mapping the extent and deformation of blueschists along the interface, and the blueschist‐eclogite transition in active subduction zones.

    more » « less