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Nature 437, 724-727 (29 September 2005) | doi:10.1038/nature03971; Received 3 February 2005; Accepted 24 June 2005
Trace element signature of subduction-zone fluids, melts and supercritical liquids at 120–180 km depth
Ronit Kessel1,2, Max W. Schmidt2, Peter Ulmer2 & Thomas Pettke3
- Institute of Earth Science, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, 91904, Israel
- Institute für Mineralogie und Petrographie,
- Isotope Geochemistry and Mineral Resources, ETH Zentrum, Zürich, CH-8092, Switzerland
Correspondence to: Ronit Kessel1,2 Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to R.K. (Email: ).
Fluids and melts liberated from subducting oceanic crust recycle lithophile elements back into the mantle wedge, facilitate melting and ultimately lead to prolific subduction-zone arc volcanism1,2. The nature and composition of the mobile phases generated in the subducting slab at high pressures have, however, remained largely unknown3,4,5,6,7. Here we report direct LA-ICPMS measurements of the composition of fluids and melts equilibrated with a basaltic eclogite at pressures equivalent to depths in the Earth of 120–180 km and temperatures of 700–1,200 °C. The resultant liquid/mineral partition coefficients constrain the recycling rates of key elements. The dichotomy of dehydration versus melting at 120 km depth is expressed through contrasting behaviour of many trace elements (U/Th, Sr, Ba, Be and the light rare-earth elements). At pressures equivalent to 180 km depth, however, a supercritical liquid with melt-like solubilities for the investigated trace elements is observed, even at low temperatures. This mobilizes most of the key trace elements (except the heavy rare-earth elements, Y and Sc) and thus limits fluid-phase transfer of geochemical signatures in subduction zones to pressures less than 6 GPa.
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