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Subduction in fancy: stripping young slabs as a result of similar crust-mantle rheologies

Abstract : Understanding subduction rheology in both space and time has been a challenge since the advent of plate tectonics. We herein focus on "subduction infancy", which corresponds to the first 0-2 My immediately following subduction nucleation, when a newly born slab penetrates into the overriding plate mantle and heats up. The only remnants of this critical, yet elusive, geodynamic step are thin metamorphic soles, commonly found beneath pristine, 100-1000 km long portions of oceanic lithosphere emplaced on top of continents (i.e. ophiolites). In this study, we show how, during subduction infancy, transient mechanical properties of both the mantle and crust across the subduction plate interface (during 100s ky) control and hinder the penetration of tectonic plates into the mantle, and how this results in strong peaks of resistance and even slicing of their surface — leaving behind thin, chopped-off metamorphic slivers (i.e. metamorphic soles). These findings constrain the mechanical behaviour of the subduction plate interface (with implications for coupling processes and earthquake generation) as well as the properties of the crust and mantle. They also highlight the role of fluids in enabling subduction to overcome this early resistance.
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Conference papers
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Contributor : Isabelle Dubigeon <>
Submitted on : Friday, April 29, 2016 - 1:54:01 PM
Last modification on : Monday, July 5, 2021 - 3:20:02 PM


  • HAL Id : insu-01309386, version 1


Philippe Agard, Philippe Yamato, Mathieu Soret, Cécile Prigent, Stéphane Guillot, et al.. Subduction in fancy: stripping young slabs as a result of similar crust-mantle rheologies. European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2016, European Geosciences Union, Apr 2016, Vienne, Austria. pp.EGU2016-9077. ⟨insu-01309386⟩



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