UMD: Viete on metamorphism as earthquake record

2017 Geology Colloquium Series

Friday, March 31st 2017 at 3:00 pm
in PLS 1140, University of Maryland, College Park

Daniel Viete
Johns Hopkins University

Metamorphism can record individual earthquake events in the subduction setting: evidence from the Franciscan Complex, California

Rhythmic major-element zoning has been documented in garnets from high pressure/low temperature (HP/LT) lenses within a number of worldwide subduction mélanges (e.g. California, Chinese Tianshan, Cuba, Greek Cyclades, Guatemala, Japan, Venezuela). These features reflect some fundamental process(es) in the subduction setting. In this talk, conditions of rhythmic zoning acquirement in HP/LT garnets of the Franciscan Complex, California are investigated by use of thermodynamic modeling of phase equilibria, and Raman and synchrotron Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) microspectroscopy.

Hornblende, omphacite and zoisite in the Franciscan rocks are also complexly zoned in major elements. Modeling of phase equilibria shows that modal contours for garnet, amphibole and zoisite are gently dipping in the P–T region that corresponds to the peak-metamorphic mineral assemblage. Metamorphic assemblage diagrams suggest that hydration/dehy! dration reactions involving garnet <—> zoisite (which also involve amphibole exchange or omphacite for glaucophane) are incredibly sensitive to changes in P (e.g. 5–10 vol.% absolute gain/loss of garnet for ΔP = 250 MPa). Major-element zoning in the Franciscan minerals may record repeated growth–partial dissolution cycles in response to P fluctuations in the subduction setting.

Quartz-in-garnet Raman barometry reveals varying P—on the order of 100–350 MPa, over radial distances of 10s of µm—in association with the major-element zoning in the Franciscan garnets. Results from synchrotron FTIR microspectroscopy demonstrate association between zone overgrowths and OH in garnet (a proxy for crystallization pressure in pyrope garnet). The microspectroscopy results confirm changes in P attended development of the rhythmic garnet zoning.

Steep compositional gradients defining the rhythmic major-element zo! ning limit time scales at peak T (and garnet growth–dissolution) conditions to < 1 Myr, requiring that individual growth–partial dissolution cycles were extremely brief. Overpressure on the order of 100s of MPa can develop by tectonic loading of the crust and is relieved with earthquake rupture. Seismic cycles represent ephemeral phenomena capable of accounting for development of rhythmic major-element zoning in HP/LT garnet, during subduction, as a result of fluctuations in P (and garnet stability). Metamorphic rocks may carry detailed records of the catastrophism that punctuates longer-term tectonometamorphic processes.

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