The amount of H2O subducted to postarc depths dictates such disparate factors as the generation of arc and back-arc magmas, the rheology of the mantle wedge and slab, and the global circulation of H2O. Perple_X was used to calculate phase diagrams and rock physical properties for pressures of 0.5-4.0 GPa and temperatures of 300-900°C for a range of bulk compositions appropriate to subduction zones. These data were merged with global subduction zone rock fluxes to generate a model for global H2O flux to postarc depths. For metasomatized igneous rocks, subducted H2O scales with bulk rock K2O in hot slabs. Metasomatized ultramafic rocks behave similarly in cold slabs, but in hot slabs carry no H2O to magma generation depths because they lack K2O. Chert and carbonate are responsible for minimal H2O subduction, whereas clay-rich and terrigenous sediments stabilize several hydrous phases at low temperature, resulting in significant postarc slab H2O flux in cold and hot slabs. Continental crust also subducts much H2O in cold slabs because of the stability of lawsonite and phengite; in hot slabs it is phengite that carries the bulk of this H2O to postarc depth. All told, the postarc flux of H2O in cold slabs is dominated by terrigenous sediment and the igneous lower crust and mantle and is proportional to bulk rock H2O. In contrast, in hot slabs the major contributors of postarc slab H2O are metasomatized volcanic rocks and subducted continental crust, with the amount of postarc slab H2O scaling with K2O. The Andes and Java-Sumatra-Andaman slabs are the principal suppliers of pelagic and terrigenous sediment hosted H2O to postarc depths, respectively. The Chile and Solomon arcs contribute the greatest H2O flux from subducted continental and oceanic forearc, respectively. The Andean arc has the greatest H2O flux provided through subduction of hydrated ocean crust and mantle. No correlation was observed between postarc slab H2O flux and slab seismicity.
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
- Pub Date:
- March 2008
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