Serpentinite-driven Exhumation of the UHP Lago di Cignana Unit in the Fossil Alpine Plate Interface

Tuesday, 15 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Mattia Gilio1, Marco Scambelluri1, Samuel Angiboust2, Marguerite Godard3 and Thomas Pettke4, (1)University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy, (2)Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ, Potsdam, Germany, (3)University of Montpellier II, Montpellier Cedex 05, France, (4)University of Bern, Institute of Geological Sciences, Bern, Switzerland
The Lago di Cignana Unit (LCU) is a coesite- [1] and diamond-bearing [2] slice of oceanic-derived eclogites and metasediments recording Alpine UHP metamorphism at 600 °C-3.2 GPa (~110 km depth) [3]. The LCU is tectonically sandwiched between the eclogitic Zermatt-Saas Zone (ZSZ; 540 °C-3.2 GPa) [4] and the blueschist Combin Zone (400 °C-0.9 GPa) [5] along a tectonic structure joining HP units recording a ~1.2 GPa (40 km) pressure difference. So far, the ZSZ has been attributed to normal HP conditions and the mechanism driving exhumation and accretion of the LCU in its present structural position is not fully understood.
We performed petrography and bulk-rock trace element analyses of rocks from LCU and ZSZ serpentinites. We observed that, while serpentinites in the core of the ZSZ show normal subduction zone trace elements and REE’s patterns, the Ol+Ti-chu+Chl veins and host serpentinites enveloping the LCU are strongly enriched in sediment-derived fluid-mobile elements (U, Th, Nb, Ta, Ce, Y, As, Sb) and REE’s: their patterns well match those of the closely associated LCU-UHP rocks.
The presence of extremely enriched Ol+Ti-chu+Chl veins in the serpentinites at direct contact with the UHP Lago di Cignana Unit suggests that fluid exchange between serpentinite and LCU crustal rocks occurred at peak metamorphic conditions. Their coupling therefore occurred during subduction burial and/or peak UHP conditions. As such, the buoyancy force originating from the relatively light serpentinites fuelled the exhumation of the Lago di Cignana Unit. In this contest, the tectonic contact between the Zermatt-Saas Zone and the Combin Zone evolved into a true tectonic plate interface surface.
1. Reinecke (1998). Lithos 42(3), 147-189; 2. Frezzotti et al. (2011). Nat. Geosci. 4(10), 703-706; 3. Groppo et al. (2009). J. Metam. Geol. 27(3), 207-231; 4. Angiboust et al. (2009). Terra Nova 21(3), 171-180; 5. Reddy et al. (1999). J. Metam. Geol. 17, 573-590.