Rapid Heating at Subduction Interfaces: A Special Case or the Norm?

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Besim Dragovic1, Mark J Caddick1 and Ethan F Baxter2, (1)Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA, United States, (2)Boston University, Boston, MA, United States
Combining garnet geochronology with thermodynamic analysis permits construction of the P-T history of subducted lithologies. This may record the thermal state of the slab, which is controlled in part by mantle T, convergence rate, slab age and dip. These parameters are also primary inputs into subduction zone geodynamical models. Here, an integrated geochronologic and thermodynamic analysis seeks to both determine the P-T evolution of subducted lithologies from Sifnos, Greece, and compare aspects of this evolution to results of geodynamic subduction models. High precision Sm-Nd garnet geochronology on several lithologies elucidated a metamorphic history involving slow initiation of garnet growth at 53.4 ± 2.6Ma, followed by a period of rapid growth between 46.95 ± 0.61Ma and 44.96 ± 0.53Ma. Individual samples exhibit entire porphyroblast growth durations spanning just hundreds of thousands of years. This chronology is coupled with phase equilibria modeling of several lithologies, constraining a minimum heating rate during garnet growth close to peak P. The pulse of growth described above coincides with a period of near isobaric heating, at a rate of >75°C/Myr, terminating at the peak P and T estimated for Sifnos (~2.2 GPa and 560°C; [1]). This heating rate initially seems high, so a comparison has been made with results from 2D thermal models that represent the global range of active subduction zones [2]. In each model, the P-T paths derived for the top of the slab experience a region of relatively isobaric heating, consistent with that determined for Sifnos. A common feature in each case is the existence of a sharp thermal gradient, separating a colder fore-arc from a warmer regime dominated by viscous flow of the mantle wedge. For appropriate convergence rates, this sharp thermal gradient is traversed at similar rates to that derived above for Sifnos. We infer that peak metamorphism (and the early stages of exhumation) on Sifnos may have occurred along this transition in thermal regime, with resultant pulsed metamorphism stemming from these elevated heating rates. We explore petrologic features such as the kinetics of garnet nucleation/growth under such rapid heating at high pressure.

[1] Dragovic et al., 2012. Chem. Geol., v. 314. p. 9-22.

[2] Syracuse et al., 2010. PEPI, v. 183, p. 73-90.