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Kinetics and mechanism of antigorite dehydration: Implications for subduction zone seismicity

Abstract : Properties of serpentine minerals are thought to influence the occurrence and location of intermediate‐depth seismicity in subduction zones, which is often characterized by two dipping planes separated by ∼30 km defining a double seismic zone. The seismicity of the lower plane is believed to be provoked by the dehydration of serpentine since the experimentally determined stability limit for antigorite matches hypocenter locations. This requires that the fluid produced by dehydration is released much faster than the typical time scale of ductile deformation mechanisms. Here we measured the kinetics of antigorite dehydration in situ at high pressure and high temperature by time‐resolved synchrotron X‐ray diffraction in a closed system. Antigorite dehydrates in two steps. During step 1 it partially breaks down into olivine and a hydrous phyllosilicate closely related to the 10 Å phase. The modal abundance of the intermediate assemblage is described by 66 wt % antigorite, 19 wt % olivine, 12 wt % 10 Å phase. During step 2 at higher temperature, the remaining antigorite and the 10 Å phase fully dehydrate. From the analysis of reaction progress data, we determined that the major release of aqueous fluid occurs during step 2 at a fast rate of 10−4 mfluid 3 mrock −3 s−1. This exceeds by orders of magnitude the typical time scale of deformation by ductile mechanisms of any mineral or rock in the subducting slab or in the overlying mantle wedge. These results suggest that the fast dehydration of antigorite may well trigger the seismicity of the lower plane of the double seismic zone.
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Mélanie Chollet, Isabelle Daniel, Kenneth Koga, Guillaume Morard, Bertrand van de Moortèle. Kinetics and mechanism of antigorite dehydration: Implications for subduction zone seismicity. Journal of Geophysical Research, American Geophysical Union, 2011, 116, pp.04203. ⟨10.1029/2010JB007739⟩. ⟨hal-00613633⟩

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