METASOMATIC HORIZON SEALING SERPENTINITE-METASEDIMENTS PAIR IN THE ZERMATT-SAAS METAOPHIOLITE (NORTHWESTERN ALPS): RECORD OF A CHANNEL FOR FOCUSSED FLUID FLOW DURING SUBDUCTION
In Press, Journal Pre-proof, Available online 26 September 2020
Keywords:metasomatic rocks, metaophiolites and metaophicarbonates, Jurassic Tethys, subduction, Zermatt-Saas Zone, Northwestern Alps, Italy
A metasomatic horizon (MH) occurs between the metaophiolite (serpentinite and metaophicarbonates) basement and metasedimentary sequence (chaotic rocks and calcschists) of the Lake Miserin Ophiolite, in the high pressure Zermatt-Saas Zone of the Northwestern Alps. Macro- and microstructural analyses combined with petrological and geochemical investigations of the MH and surrounding lithologies unravelled a polyphase blastesis-deformation history, which led to the formation of a complex fabric and minero-chemical alteration of the serpentinite basement-metasediments interface. Dehydration, decarbonation and carbonation interplayed from early Alpine subduction up to HP-LT metamorphic peak (T=550-630 °C, P=1.8-2.5 GPa), to produce a distinctive, pervasive amphibole (tremolite/actinolite) replacement both in carbonate-rich and serpentinite-rich domains pertaining to the MH protoliths, i.e. serpentinite and carbonate-bearing metabreccia of the chaotic rock unit. This characteristic amphibole metasomatism is more pronounced toward the contact with the metaophicarbonates, and the average δ18OVSMOW and δ13CVPDB values of dolomite within the MH (+14.4‰ and +0.7‰ respectively) lie between those of the metaophicarbonates and of calcschist. These results suggest that Mg- H2O-rich fluids from the dehydrating slab, CO2 released by decarbonation and SiO2-rich fluids evolved in calcschists mixed together and circulated mostly along the metaophiolite basement/metasediments interface, where the MH developed and recorded a preferential channel for mixed metamorphic fluid flow. These findings highlight and confirm that the study of metasomatic rocks in convergent systems is crucial to comprehend the behaviour of different fluids circulating, mixing and interacting with lithologies along slab-parallel discontinuities, which act as major fluid conduits for deep volatile recycling.