Metamorphic sole formation reveals plate interface rheology during early subduction
Tuesday, 15 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Metamorphic soles are m to ~500m thick tectonic slices welded beneath most large ophiolites. They correspond to highly to mildly deformed portions of oceanic lithosphere metamorphosed at amphibolite to granulite facies peak conditions. Metamorphic soles are interpreted as formed ≤1–2Ma after intraoceanic subduction initiation by heat transfer from the hot, incipient mantle wegde to the underthrusting lower plate. Their early accretion and exhumation together with the future ophiolite implies at least one jump of the subduction plate interface from above to below the metamorphic sole. Metamorphic soles thus represent one of the few remnants of the very early evolution of the subduction plate interface and provide major constraints on the thermal structure and the effective rheology of the crust and mantle along the nascent slab interface.We herein present a structural and petrological detailed description of the Oman and Turkey metamorphic soles. Both soles present a steep inverted metamorphic structure, with isograds subparallel to the peridotite contact, in which the proportion of mafic rocks, pressure and temperature conditions increase upward. They comprise, as most metamorphic soles worldwide, two main units: (1) a high-grade unit adjacent to the overlying peridotite composed of granulitized to amphibolized metabasalts, with rare metasedimentary interlayers (~800±100ºC at 10±2kbar) and (2) a low-grade greenschist facies unit composed of metasedimentary rocks with rare metatuffs (~500±100ºC at 5±2kbar). We provide for the first time refined P–T peak condition estimations by means of pseudosection modelling and maximum temperature constraints for the Oman low-grade sole by RAMAN thermometry. In order to quantify micro-scale deformations trough the sole, we also present EBSD data on the Oman garnet-bearing and garnet-free high-grade sole.With these new constraints, we finally propose a new conceptual mechanical model for metamorphic sole formation. This model excludes the presence of a continuous inverted metamorphic gradient through the sole but implies the stacking of several homogeneous slivers to constitute the present structure of the sole. These successive thrusts are the result of rheological changes as the plate interface progressively cools.