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Conference Papers Year : 2011

Eclogitized Oceanic Crust During Subduction: Implications for Subduction Zone Dynamics

Samuel Angiboust
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Ryan Langdon
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Dave Waters
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Philippe Yamato
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Christian Chopin


The Monviso ophiolite is composed of two main tectonic slices: the Monviso Unit (MU) to the west, which overlies the Lago Superiore Unit (LSU). Our PT estimates show that the MU has been subducted down to 480°C-23kbar (~70km) during Alpine subduction while the LSU reached slightly deeper conditions (540°C-26kbar, i.e. ~80km). This ophiolite, which comprises large (10-20km long) ophiolite fragments therefore does not correspond to a serpentinite mélange, and may be the southern extension of the Zermatt-Saas ophiolite (Angiboust et al., 2009; 2011). The well-preserved LSU constitutes an almost continuous upper fragment of oceanic lithosphere subducted between 50 and 40 Ma and later exhumed along the subduction interface. It therefore provides a unique opportunity to study strain partitioning and deep mechanical behaviour of the subducting lithosphere. The LSU comprises (i) several hundred meters of eclogitized basaltic crust (+ minor calcschist lenses) overlying a 100-400m thick metagabbroic body and (ii) a serpentinite sole (c. 1km thick). We herein focus on eclogite-facies shear zones, which are found at the boundary between basalts and gabbros, and between gabbros and serpentinites, i.e. between material with marked rheological contrasts. Eclogite facies blocks within the shear zones display intense fracturation, fragment rotation and dispersion in the serpentinite schists which line up the shear zones. We also report the first finding of eclogite-facies breccias, constituted of rotated eclogite mylonitic clasts cemented within an eclogite-facies matrix. Local fracturation of garnet within these breccias is attested by the presence of numerous fracture networks within garnet, generally healed by a Mg-enriched composition. The shear zones also preserve clear evidence of pervasive and channelized fluid flow (of variable duration) leading to alteration of bulk rock composition, weakening of the rock and widespread crystallization of lawsonite. Our results provide new constraints for deep mechanical coupling processes and meter-scale fluid-rock interaction occurring at depth in present-day subduction zones. In particular, we emphasize that (i) rheological contrasts in the field qualitatively support those inferred from experimental flow laws, (ii) fluid flow is channelized along deep eclogite facies shear zones (iii) brittle fracturing recorded by eclogite breccias and garnet fractures could be associated with deep interplate seismicity.


Earth Sciences
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insu-00673831 , version 1 (24-02-2012)


  • HAL Id : insu-00673831 , version 1


Samuel Angiboust, Philippe Agard, Ryan Langdon, Dave Waters, Hugues Raimbourg, et al.. Eclogitized Oceanic Crust During Subduction: Implications for Subduction Zone Dynamics. AGU Fall Meeting 2011, Dec 2011, San Francisco, Californie, United States. pp.U51D-06. ⟨insu-00673831⟩
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