Plate interface rheological switches during subduction infancy: Control on slab penetration and metamorphic sole formation - Sorbonne Université Access content directly
Journal Articles Earth and Planetary Science Letters Year : 2016

Plate interface rheological switches during subduction infancy: Control on slab penetration and metamorphic sole formation

Abstract

Subduction infancy corresponds to the first few million years following subduction initiation, when slabs start their descent into the mantle. It coincides with the transient (yet systematic) transfer of material from the top of the slab to the upper plate, as witnessed by metamorphic soles welded beneath obducted ophiolites. Combining structure–lithology–pressure–temperature–time data from metamorphic soles with flow laws derived from experimental rock mechanics, this study highlights two main successive rheological switches across the subduction interface (mantle wedge vs. basalts, then mantle wedge vs. sediments; at ∼800 °C and ∼600 °C, respectively), during which interplate mechanical coupling is maximized by the existence of transiently similar rheologies across the plate contact. We propose that these rheological switches hinder slab penetration and are responsible for slicing the top of the slab and welding crustal pieces (high- then low-temperature metamorphic soles) to the base of the mantle wedge during subduction infancy. This mechanism has implications for the rheological properties of the crust and mantle (and for transient episodes of accretion/exhumation of HP-LT rocks in mature subduction systems) and highlights the role of fluids in enabling subduction to overcome the early resistance to slab penetration.
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Dates and versions

hal-01383368 , version 1 (18-10-2016)

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Philippe Agard, Philippe Yamato, Mathieu Soret, Cécile Prigent, S. Guillot, et al.. Plate interface rheological switches during subduction infancy: Control on slab penetration and metamorphic sole formation. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 2016, 451, pp.208 - 220. ⟨10.1016/j.epsl.2016.06.054⟩. ⟨hal-01383368⟩
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