Quantifying Interseismic Volume Strain from Chemical Mass-Balance Analysis in Tectonic Mélanges

T. W. Chen, A. Smye, D. Fisher, Y. Hashimoto, H. Raimbourg, V. Famin

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Estimating interseismic deformation in subduction fault zones can offer insights into the frequency and magnitude of megathrust earthquakes. Diffusive mass transfer is a significant mechanism of strain during interseismic periods along the plate interface, observed through the pervasive scaly fabrics and mineral veins in tectonic mélanges of ancient accretionary prisms. The dissolution of fluid-mobile elements (e.g., Si and Large-Ion Lithophile Elements) along scaly folia and subsequent reprecipitation as veins lead to the enrichment of fluid-immobile elements (e.g., Ti and High Field Strength Elements) in scaly fabrics. The kinetics of dissolution-precipitation is temperature-dependent, suggesting depth-dependent mass transfer along subduction interfaces. Here, we evaluate the magnitudes of volume strain in a suite of mélange samples that span peak metamorphic temperatures of 130–340°C. Micro-chemical analysis shows that the depletion of fluid-mobile elements and enrichment of fluid-immobile elements in scaly fabrics increases with temperature. Assuming the conservation of Ti, we apply mass balance constraints to calculate the volumetric strain in scaly fabrics. Results indicate average volumetric strain of 28% and 95% in the individual scaly fabrics of the Lower Mugi and Makimine mélanges in Japan, which record temperatures near the updip and downdip isotherms bounding the seismogenic zone, respectively. To determine the total volume strain within an area of interest, we integrate the amount of volume loss along individual microstructures across the network using image analyses, which ranges from 3% to 14% for the mélanges. Our approach demonstrates the potential to fully describe the deformation related to mass transfer by connecting characterization in different scales with geochemical analyses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2023GC011241
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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