Fluid-related inclusions in Alpine high-pressure peridotite reveal trace element recycling during subduction-zone dehydration of serpentinized mantle (Cima di Gagnone, Swiss Alps).

Scambelluri, M.; Pettke, Thomas; Cannao, E. (2015). Fluid-related inclusions in Alpine high-pressure peridotite reveal trace element recycling during subduction-zone dehydration of serpentinized mantle (Cima di Gagnone, Swiss Alps). Earth and planetary science letters, 429, pp. 45-59. Elsevier 10.1016/j.epsl.2015.07.060

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Serpentinites release at sub-arc depths volatiles and several fluid-mobile trace elements found in arc magmas. Constraining element uptake in these rocks and defining the trace element composition of fluids released upon serpentinite dehydration can improve our understanding of mass transfer across subduction zones and to volcanic arcs. The eclogite-facies garnet metaperidotite and chlorite harzburgite bodies embedded in paragneiss of the subduction melange from Cima di Gagnone derive from serpentinized peridotite protoliths and are unique examples of ultramafic rocks that experienced subduction metasomatism and devolatilization. In these rocks, metamorphic olivine and garnet trap polyphase inclusions representing the fluid released during high-pressure breakdown of antigorite and chlorite. Combining major element mapping and laser-ablation ICP-MS bulk inclusion analysis, we characterize the mineral content of polyphase inclusions and quantify the fluid composition. Silicates, Cl-bearing phases, sulphides, carbonates, and oxides document post-entrapment mineral growth in the inclusions starting immediately after fluid entrapment.
Compositional data reveal the presence of two different fluid types. The first (type A) records a fluid prominently enriched in fluid-mobile elements, with Cl, Cs, Pb, As, Sb concentrations up to 10(3) PM (primitive mantle), similar to 10(2) PM Tit Ba, while Rb, B, Sr, Li, U concentrations are of the order of 10(1) PM, and alkalis are similar to 2 PM. The second fluid (type B) has considerably lower fluid-mobile element enrichments, but its enrichment patterns are comparable to type A fluid.
Our data reveal multistage fluid uptake in these peridotite bodies, including selective element enrichment during seafloor alteration, followed by fluid-rock interaction along with subduction metamorphism in the plate interface melange. Here, infiltration of sediment-equilibrated fluid produced significant enrichment of the serpentinites in As, Sb, B, Pb, an enriched trace element pattern that was then transferred to the fluid released at greater depth upon serpentine dehydration (type A fluid). The type B fluid hosted by garnet may record the composition of the chlorite breakdown fluid released at even greater depth.
The Gagnone study-case demonstrates that serpentinized peridotites acquire water and fluid-mobile elements during ocean floor hydration and through exchange with sediment-equilibrated fluids in the early subduction stages. Subsequent antigorite devolatilization at subarc depths delivers aqueous fluids to the mantle wedge that can be prominently enriched in sediment-derived components, potentially triggering arc magmatism without the need of concomitant dehydration/melting of metasediments or altered oceanic crust.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences > Rock-Water Interaction

UniBE Contributor:

Pettke, Thomas


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology








Thomas Pettke

Date Deposited:

21 Dec 2015 10:00

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:50

Publisher DOI:






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