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Slab-derived origin of tremolite-antigorite veins in a supra-subduction ophiolite; the Peridotite Nappe (New Caledonia) as a case study.

Abstract : Hydration of mantle peridotites provides information on the exhumation history and on the fluid regime accompanying exhumation of these rocks (reservoirs involved, fluid/rock ratios, temperature of interaction). Highly depleted harzburgites and dunites of the Peridotite Nappe of New Caledonia are crosscut by fractures, which have been pervasively serpentinized, producing lizardite, brucite, magnetite and minor chrysotile in a near-static environment, probably by sea water circulating in cooling joints. This event is generally referred to as “primary serpentinization”. In a next step, already serpentinized joints were re-opened to produce tension and shear cracks sealed by higher-temperature synkinematic fibrous minerals. Locally, tremolite-bearing veins and pockets, which do not display evidence for void infill, were generated by metasomatic replacement of the wall rock peridotite. Most veins only contain fibrous antigorite but some display tremolite-antigorite intergrowths or even pure tremolite. The latter rocks yield high contents of Ca and incompatible elements, which contrast with the overall depletion of the peridotite host rock and suggest contribution of an external source. Whole-rock geochemical and isotopic features (87Sr/86Sr, 18O and H) suggest that antigorite veins, which bear highly radiogenic Sr isotope signatures, were strongly influenced by fluids emitted by the subducted slab and associated sediments. In contrast, the geochemical and isotopic signatures of tremolite-bearing rocks suggest a genetic link with Early Eocene supra-subduction dykes and fluids that leached them. Calcium, strontium and REE-bearing oxidized fluids reacted with already serpentinized fracture wall rock as shown by fibre nucleation, chromite alteration and high Cr contents in tremolite. The bulk of syn-tectonic fluid-rock interaction associated with shear and tensile fracture development probably occurred at the onset of Eocene intra-oceanic subduction, when the buoyant lower plate (the South Loyalty Basin) obliquely forced its way beneath the nascent Loyalty fore-arc. Mobile elements extracted from supra-subduction dykes temporarily enriched the circulating fluids and generated tremolite, antigorite, Mg-chlorite and magnetite instead of antigorite and magnetite solely. Tremolite crystallization probably ceased due to the exhaustion of Ca-rich fluids in a globally cooling fore-arc environment.
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Dominique Cluzel, Philippe Boulvais, Marion Iseppi, Didier Lahondère, Stephane Lesimple, et al.. Slab-derived origin of tremolite-antigorite veins in a supra-subduction ophiolite; the Peridotite Nappe (New Caledonia) as a case study.. International Journal of Earth Sciences, Springer Verlag, 2020, 109 (1), pp.171-196. ⟨10.1007/s00531-019-01796-6⟩. ⟨insu-02369790⟩



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