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Keywords:

  • subduction zone;
  • continental crust;
  • relamination;
  • composite diapir;
  • crustal growth;
  • isotopic variations

[1] Geochemical consequences of composite diapirs formed in subduction zones have been studied using a thermomechanical numerical model of an ocean-continent subduction zone. This model includes dehydration of subducted crust, aqueous fluid transport, partial melting, and melt emplacement. Subduction of crustal material to sublithospheric depth results in the formation of a tectonic rock mélange composed of basalt, sediment, and hydrated /serpentinized mantle. At asthenospheric depth, this rock mélange may evolve into partially molten diapirs and rise through the mantle prior to emplacement (relamination) at crustal levels. We have investigated the composition and the geochemical evolution of liquids derived from such composite diapirs by analyzing the differing proportions of the crustal end-members in the source, i.e., basalt and sediment. Our results show that the proportions of the components (in the diapiric mélange) are limited to short-range variations within an interval of Xb [=volume fraction of basalt/(basalt + sediment)] = 0.4 − 0.8, yielding melt with a relatively stable granodioritic major element composition. Hence, granodioritic melt is transported by rising composite diapirs to crustal levels, contributing to the growth of the continental crust. In addition to this, we have calculated Sr and Nd isotopic initial ratios of the diapiric mélange as a function of time, based on the fraction of the components in the mélange. Liquids derived from composite diapirs inherit the geochemical characteristics of the composite source and show distinct temporal variations of radiogenic isotopes depending on the changing values of Xb. Partial melting of composite diapirs is therefore expected to produce melt with a constant major element composition but substantial changes in terms of radiogenic isotopes.