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    • Progress in Earth and Planetary Science
    • Progress in Earth and Planetary Science
    • Progress in Earth and Planetary Science
    • Progress in Earth and Planetary Science
    Progress in Earth and Planetary Science

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    Solid earth sciences


    Peridotites with back-arc basin affinity exposed at the southwestern tip of the Mariana forearc

    Oya S, Michibayashi K, Ohara Y, Martinez F, Kourim F, Lee H-Y, Nimura K

    Southern Mariana Trench, Parece Vela Basin, peridotite, olivine fabric, mineral composition, melt-rock interaction

    (a) Bathymetry in the vicinity of Southern Mariana Trench. (b) 3D bathymetry and survey lines of the 139°E Ridge

    Peridotites at water depths of 3430 to 5999 m have been discovered using the submersible Shinkai6500 (dives 6K-1397 and 6K-1398) on the southwestern slope of the 139°E Ridge (11°12′N, 139°15′E), a small ridge at the southwesternmost tip of the Mariana forearc near the junction with the Yap Trench and Parece Vela Basin. The peridotites studied consist of 17 residual harzburgites and one dunite and show various textures with respect to their depths. Peridotites with coarse-grained (> 1 mm) textures were sampled from the shallowest part (3705–4042 m) of the dive area, and peridotites with fine-grained (< 0.5 mm) textures were sampled deeper (5996 m). Olivine crystal-fabrics vary with grain size, with (010)[100] A-type patterns for the coarse-grained peridotites, {0kl}[100] D-type patterns for the fine-grained peridotites, and various indistinct patterns in samples of variable grain sizes. Fine-grained peridotites with D-type olivine crystal-fabrics could result from deformation under relatively higher flow stresses, suggesting that a ductile shear zone in the lithospheric mantle could occur in the deepest part of 139°E Ridge. Spinel Cr# range from relatively low (0.36) to moderately high (up to 0.57), and correlate with Ti contents (0.07–0.45 wt.%). The trace element patterns of clinopyroxene similarly exhibit steepening slopes from the middle to the light REEs regardless of textural variations. These mineralogical and geochemical features would result from melt-rock interactions under conditions of relatively shallow lithospheric mantle, which are much more comparable with the Parece Vela Basin peridotites than the Mariana forearc peridotites. Consequently, the Parece Vela Basin mantle is more likely exposed on the inner slope of the westernmost Mariana Trench, presumably due to the collision of the Caroline Ridge.