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Crustal reworking and hydration: Insights from element zoning and oxygen isotopes of garnet in high-pressure rocks (Sesia Zone, Western Alps, Italy)

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Vho Alice, Rubatto Daniela, Lanari Pierre, Giuntoli Francesco , Regis Daniele, Hermann J.,
Project Tracing the invisible path of fluids in the crust with microscale oxygen isotope measurements in key metamorphic minerals
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Volume (Issue) 175
Page(s) 109 - 9
Title of proceedings Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
DOI 10.1007/s00410-020-01745-6

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


Subduction zones represent one of the most critical settings for fluid recycling as a consequence of dehydration of the subducting lithosphere. A better understanding of fluid flows within and out of the subducting slab is fundamental to unravel the role of fluids during burial. In this study, major and trace element geochemistry combined with oxygen isotopes were used to investigate metasediments and eclogites from the Sesia Zone in order to reconstruct the effect of internal and external fluid pulses in a subducted continental margin. Garnet shows a variety of textures requiring dissolution–precipitation processes in presence of fluids. In polycyclic metasediments, garnet preserves a partly resorbed core, related to pre-Alpine high-temperature/low-pressure metamorphism, and one or multiple rim generations, associated with Alpine subduction metamorphism. In eclogites, garnet chemical zoning indicates monocyclic growth with no shift in oxygen isotopes from core to rim. In metasediments, pre-Alpine garnet relics show δ18O values up to 5.3 ‰ higher than the Alpine rims, while no significant variation is observed among different Alpine garnet generations within each sample. This suggests that an extensive re-equilibration with an externally-derived fluid of distinct lower δ18O occurred before, or in correspondence to, the first Alpine garnet growth, while subsequent influxes of fluid had δ18O close to equilibrium. The observed shift in garnet δ18O is attributed to a possible combination of (1) interaction with sea-water derived fluids during pre-Alpine crustal extension and (2) fluids from dehydration reactions occurring during subduction of previously hydrated rocks, such as the serpentinised lithospheric mantle or hydrated portions of the basement.