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Rheology of serpentines, seismicity and mass transfer in subduction zone


IPGP - Campus Jussieu


Séminaires généraux de l’IPGP

Salle Bleue

Bruno Reynard

ENS Lyon

Resume: Serpentinites have a lower density and lower viscosity than "dry" ultramafic rocks and it was proposed, based on numerical simulations, that they play a major role in mantle-slab decoupling, and in downward (sink) or upward (exhumation) motion of eclogites and ultra-high pressure (UHP) rocks in subduction zones. Rheological data on antigorite, the stable variety of serpentine in subduction zones, were obtained over a P-T range of 1-4 GPa and 200-500 /deg C that cover most of its stability field. The results confirm that serpentinites acts as a weak layer that allows significant mass transfer along the "serpentinized channel" and dynamic processes such as mantle slab decoupling. Regardless of the temperature, serpentinized mantle at the slab surface has a low viscosity that allows localizing the deformation and impeding stress build-up. It will limit the downdip propagation of large earthquakes, and allow viscous relaxation as an origin of post-seismic deformations and slow earthquakes. Models of growth and transport of a serpentinized channel using available kinetic and present rheological data explain high exhumation rates of eclogites and limited thickness of the channel at great depths ( 50 km), and slower exhumation in a thick hydrated mantle corner at shallower depths. Such channels may be difficult to detect from sismic tomography or because of their small thickness (<2-3 km). -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Séminaires généraux de l'Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris --------------------------------------------------------------------------------