Dynamic control on serpentine crystallization in veins; constraints on hydration processes in oceanic peridotites

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doi: 10.1029/2006GC001373
Author(s): Andreani, M.; Mével, C.; Boullier, A. M.; Escartín, J.
Author Affiliation(s): Primary:
Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, Geosciences Marines, Paris, France
LGIT, France
Volume Title: Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems - G<sup>3</sup>
Source: Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems - G>3`, 8(2). Publisher: American Geophysical Union and The Geochemical Society, United States. ISSN: 1525-2027
Note: In English. 75 refs.; illus., incl. 1 table, sketch map
Summary: Deformation and hydration processes are intimately linked in the oceanic lithosphere, but the feedbacks between them are still poorly understood, especially in ultramafic rocks where serpentinization results in a decrease of rock density that implies a volume increase and/or mass transfer. Serpentinization is accompanied by abundant veining marked by different generations of vein-filling serpentines with a high variety of morphologies and textures that correspond to different mechanisms and conditions of formation. We use these veins to constrain the role of deformation and mass transfer processes during hydration of oceanic peridotites at slow-spreading ridges. We have selected a representative set of veins from ocean floor serpentinites of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge near Kane transform fault (23°N) and characterized these in detail for their microstructures and chemistry by coupling optical and electron microscopy (SEM, TEM) with electron microprobe analyses. Four main veining episodes (V1 to V4) accompany the serpentinization. The first episode, identified as vein generation V1, is interpreted as the tectonically controlled penetration of early seawater-dominated fluid within peridotites, enhancing thermal cracking and mesh texture initiation at 3-4 km up to 8 km depth and at T <300-350°C. The two following vein stages (V2 and V3) formed in a closed, diffusive system and accommodate volume expansion required to reach almost 50% serpentinization of the protolith. The cracks exploited by these veins were caused by the progressive unroofing at depths of ∼4 to ∼2 km along a detachment fault. Degree and rate of serpentinization seem to be controlled by the capacity of the system to create space and to drive the mass transfer needed for ongoing serpentinization, and this capacity is in turn linked to the exhumation rate and local tectonics. During this period, water consumed by hydration may prevent the establishment of convective hydrothermal cells. The onset of an open hydrothermal system in the shallow lithosphere (<2 km), where brittle fracturing and advective transfer dominate and enable the completion of serpentinization, is marked by the last vein generation (V4). These results show a complete history of alteration, with the crystallization of different types of serpentine recording different tectonic events, chemical conditions, and modes of hydrothermal alteration of the lithosphere.
Year of Publication: 2007
Research Program: ODP Ocean Drilling Program
Key Words: 05 Petrology, Igneous and Metamorphic; Atlantic Ocean; Cores; Crust; Crystallization; Deformation; Hydration; Igneous rocks; Kane fracture zone; Leg 153; Lithosphere; Metasomatism; Mid-Atlantic Ridge; Mid-ocean ridges; North Atlantic; Ocean Drilling Program; Ocean floors; Oceanic crust; Oceanic lithosphere; Peridotites; Plutonic rocks; SEM data; Serpentine; Serpentine group; Serpentinization; Sheet silicates; Silicates; TEM data; Textures; Ultramafics; Veins
Coordinates: N225500 N233500 W0444500 W0450500
Record ID: 2008070999
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