Deformation history of the eclogite- and jadeitite-bearing mélange from North Motagua Fault Zone, Guatemala: insights in the processes of a fossil subduction channel



In Guatemala, along the northern side of the Motagua Valley, a mélange consisting of blocks of eclogite and jadeitite set in a metaserpentinitic and metasedimentary matrix crops out. The metasedimentary rocks display a complex deformation history that includes four tectonic phases, from D1 to D4. The D1 phase occurs only as a relic and is characterized by a mineral assemblage developed under pressure temperature (P–T) conditions of 1.00–1.25 GPa and 206–263°C. The D2 phase, characterized by isoclinal folds, schistosity and mineral/stretching lineation, developed at P–T conditions of 0.70–1.20 GPa and 279–409°C. The following D3 and D4 phases show deformations developed at shallower structural levels. Whereas the D1 phase can be interpreted as the result of underplating of slices of oceanic lithosphere during an intraoceanic subduction, the following phases have been acquired by the mélange during its progressive exhumation through different mechanisms. The deformations related to the D2 and D3 phases can be regarded as acquired by extrusion of the mélange within a subduction channel during a stage of oblique subduction. In addition, the structural evidences indicate that the coupling and mixing of different blocks occurred during the D2 phase, as a result of flow reverse and upward trajectory in the subduction channel. By contrast, the D4 phase can be interpreted as related to extension at shallow structural levels. In this framework, the exhumation-related structures in the mélange indicate that this process, probably long-lived, developed through different mechanisms, active in the subduction channel through time. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.