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Electrical conductivity of omphacite and garnet indicates limited deep water recycling by crust subduction

Abstract : It is usually stated that oceanic crust recycling at subduction zones introduces large quantities of water into Earth’s interior. However, it remains clouded how much water is recycled to the deep mantle. This is largely due to the challenge in directly sampling, and analyzing the water content of, a deep subducting crust. The subducting crust below ~30 km depth is dominated by omphacite and garnet in eclogite-facies rocks. Here we have determined the electrical conductivity of omphacite and garnet in representative subduction-related eclogites, each with varying contents of Fe and H2O that are key in electrical conduction. Considering the measured conductivity, the eclogite chemistry by geochemical investigations and the highly resistive property of subducting crusts by geophysical surveys, we demonstrate that, at 70-120 km depths in the subducting crust, the H2O contents of omphacite and garnet are strikingly small, with the maximum value being <400 and <80 ppm in the former and latter, respectively. The very small water contents indicate extremely water-poor conditions, or very low water activity, during the eclogite-facies metamorphism and in the system. This further implies the absence of appreciated amounts of hydrous phases such as amphibole and chlorite in the matrix, because of the strong ability of omphacite and garnet in hosting water as documented in natural samples. We suggest that the recycling of water to the deep mantle by oceanic crust subduction is limited. The results are important for modeling the conductivity of subducting slabs and understanding the deep water circulation.
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Soumis le : lundi 8 février 2021 - 14:21:26
Dernière modification le : mardi 9 février 2021 - 03:20:16

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Hanyong Liu, Kai Zhang, Jannick Ingrin, Xiaozhi Yang. Electrical conductivity of omphacite and garnet indicates limited deep water recycling by crust subduction. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Elsevier, 2021, 559, pp.116784. ⟨10.1016/j.epsl.2021.116784⟩. ⟨hal-03134606⟩

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