• eclogite;
  • exhumation;
  • garnet peridotites;
  • mantle flow;
  • oceanic subduction;
  • subduction


The Higashi-akaishi garnet-bearing ultramafic body in the Sanbagawa metamorphic belt, Southwest Japan, represents a rare example of oceanic-type ultrahigh-pressure metamorphism. The body of 2 km × 5 km is composed mostly of anhydrous dunite with volumetrically minor lenses of clinopyroxene-rich rocks. Dunite samples contain high Ir-type platinum group elements (PGE) and Cr in bulk rocks, high Mg and Ni in olivine, and high Cr in spinel. On the other hand, clinopyroxene-rich rocks contain low concentrations of Ir-type PGE and Cr, high concentrations of fluid-mobile elements in bulk rocks, and low Ni and Mg in olivine. Clinopyroxene is diopsidic with low Al2O3. The compositions of bulk rocks and mineral chemistry of spinel, olivine, and clinopyroxene suggest that the olivine-dominated rocks are residual mantle peridotites after high degrees of influx partial melting, and that the clinopyroxene-rich rocks are cumulates of subduction-related melts. Thus, the Higashi-akaishi ultramafic body originated from the interior of the mantle wedge, most likely the forearc upper mantle. It was then incorporated into the Sanbagawa subduction channel by a mantle flow, and underwent high pressure metamorphism to a depth greater than 100 km. Such a strong active flow in the mantle wedge is likely facilitated by the lack of serpentinites along the interface between the slab and the overlying mantle, as it was too hot for serpentine. These unusually hot conditions and strong active mantle flow may reflect conditions in the earliest stage of development of subduction, and may have been maintained by massive upwelling and subsequent eastward flow of asthenospheric mantle in the northeastern Asian continent in Cretaceous time when the Sanbagawa belt began to form.