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Solid earth sciences
Melting carbonated epidote eclogites: carbonatites from subducting slabs
Eclogite, carbonatite, carbon cycle, kyanite, epidote, calcite, subduction
The arrangement of melting reactions for carbonated epidote eclogites.
a) Schreinemakers’ analysis for the system CaO-MgO-Al2O3-SiO2-H2O-CO2 (CMASHC);
b) experimentally derived phase diagram build on the reaction set illustrated in a); P-T path for a warm subduction zone is after Syracuse et al. (2010).
Current knowledge on the solidus temperature for carbonated eclogites suggests that carbonatitic liquids should not form from a subducted oceanic lithosphere at sub-arc depth. However, the oceanic crust includes a range of gabbroic rocks, altered on rifts and transforms, with large amounts of anorthite-rich plagioclase forming epidote on metamorphism. Epidote disappearance with pressure depends on the normative anorthite content of the bulk composition; we therefore expect that altered gabbros might display a much wider pressure range where epidote persists, potentially affecting the solidus relationships. A set of experimental data up to 4.6 GPa, and 1000 °C, including new syntheses on mafic eclogites with 36.8 % normative anorthite, is discussed to unravel the effect of variable bulk and volatile compositions in model eclogites, enriched in the normative anorthite component (An37 and An45). Experiments are performed in piston cylinder and multianvil machines. Garnet, clinopyroxene, and coesite form in all syntheses. Lawsonite was found to persist at 3.7 GPa, 750 °C, with both dolomite and magnesite; at 3.8 GPa, 775–800 °C, fluid-saturated conditions, epidote coexists with kyanite, dolomite, and magnesite. The anhydrous assemblage garnet, omphacite, aragonite, and kyanite is found at 4.2 GPa, 850 °C. At 900 °C, a silicate glass of granitoid composition, a carbonatitic precipitate, and Na-carbonate are observed. Precipitates are interpreted as evidence of hydrous carbonatitic liquids at run conditions; these liquids produced are richer in Ca compared to experimental carbonatites from anhydrous experiments, consistently with the dramatic role of H2O in depressing the solidus temperature for CaCO3. The fluid-absent melting of the assemblage epidote + dolomite, enlarged in its pressure stability for An-rich gabbros, is expected to promote the generation of carbonatitic liquids. The subsolidus breakdown of epidote in the presence of carbonates at depths exceeding 120 km provides a major source of C-O-H volatiles at sub-arc depth. In warm subduction zones, the possibility of extracting carbonatitic liquids from a variety of gabbroic rocks and epidosites offers new scenarios on the metasomatic processes in the lithospheric wedge of subduction zones and a new mechanism for recycling carbon.