A new method of reconstructing the P-T conditions of fluid circulation in an accretionary prism (Shimanto, Japan) from microthermometry of methane-bearing aqueous inclusions

Abstract : In paleo-accretionary prisms and the shallow metamorphic domains of orogens, circulating fluids trapped in inclusions are commonly composed of a mixture of salt water and methane, producing two types of fluid inclusions: methane-bearing aqueous and methane-rich gaseous fluid inclusions. In such geological settings, where multiple stages of deformation, veining and fluid influx are prevalent, textural relationships between aqueous and gaseous inclusions are often ambiguous, preventing the microthermometric determination of fluid trapping pressure and temperature conditions. To assess the P-T conditions of deep circulating fluids from the Hyuga unit of the Shimanto paleo-accretionary prism on Kyushu, Japan, we have developed a new computational code, applicable to the H2O-CH4-NaCl system, which allows the characterization of CH4-bearing aqueous inclusions using only the temperatures of their phase transitions estimated by microthermometry: Tmi, the melting temperature of ice; Thyd, the melting temperature of gas hydrate and Th,aq, homogenization temperature. This thermodynamic modeling calculates the bulk density and composition of aqueous inclusions, as well as their P-T isochoric paths in a P-T diagram with an estimated precision of approximatively 10 %. We use this computational tool to reconstruct the entrapment P-T conditions of aqueous inclusions in the Hyuga unit, and we show that these aqueous inclusions cannot be cogenetic with methane gaseous inclusions present in the same rocks. As a result, we propose that pulses of a high-pressure, methane-rich fluid transiently percolated through a rock wetted by a lower-pressure aqueous fluid. By coupling microthermometric results with petrological data, we infer that the exhumation of the Hyuga unit from the peak metamorphic conditions was nearly isothermal and ended up under a very hot geothermal gradient. In subduction or collision zones, modeling aqueous fluid inclusions in the ternary H2O-CH4-NaCl system and not simply in the binary H2O-NaCl is necessary, as the addition of even a small amount of methane to the water raises significantly the isochores to higher pressures. Our new code provides therefore the possibility to estimate precisely the pressure conditions of fluids circulating at depth.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 10:10:15 AM
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Hugues Raimbourg, Régis Thiery, Maxime Vacelet, Claire Ramboz, Nicolas Cluzel, et al.. A new method of reconstructing the P-T conditions of fluid circulation in an accretionary prism (Shimanto, Japan) from microthermometry of methane-bearing aqueous inclusions. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Elsevier, 2014, 125, pp.96-109. ⟨10.1016/j.gca.2013.09.025⟩. ⟨insu-00873933⟩

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