Trace and Rare Earth Element Compositions of Lawsonite as a Chemical Tracer of Metamorphic Processes in Subduction Zones

Patricia Kang, Donna L. Whitney, Laure A.J. Martin, Katherine F Fornash

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Lawsonite is a major host mineral of trace elements (TEs; e.g. REE, Sr, Pb, U, Th) and H2O in various rock types (metabasite, metasediment, metasomatite) over a wide range of depths in subduction zones. Consequently, the composition of lawsonite is a useful archive to track chemical exchanges that occurred during subduction and/or exhumation, as recorded in high-pressure/low-temperature (HP/LT) terranes. This study provides an extensive dataset of major element and TE compositions of lawsonite in HP/LT rocks from two mélanges (Franciscan/USA; Rio San Juan/Dominican Republic), two structurally coherent terranes (Tavşanll/Turkey; Alpine Corsica/France), and the eclogite blocks of the Pinchi Lake/Canada complex. Bulk major and TE compositions were also determined for lawsonite-bearing host rocks to understand petrogenesis and assess compositional evolution. Most analyzed mélange and coherent-terrane metabasalts have normal mid-ocean ridge/back-arc basin basalt signatures and they preserve compositional evidence supporting interactions with (meta)sediment ± metagabbro/serpentinite (e.g. LILE/LREE enrichments; Ni/Cr enrichments). Most lawsonite grains analyzed are compositionally zoned in transition-metal elements (Fe, Ti, Cr), other TEs (e.g. Sr, Pb), and/or REE, with some grains showing compositional variations that correlate with zoning patterns (e.g. Ti-sector zoning, core-to-rim zoning in Fe, Cr-oscillatory zoning). Our results suggest that compositional variations in lawsonite formed in response to crystallographic control (in Ti-sector zoning), fluid-host rock interactions, modal changes in minerals, and/or element fractionation with coexisting minerals that compete for TEs (e.g. epidote, titanite). The Cr/V and Sr/Pb ratios of lawsonite are useful to track the compositional influence of serpentinite/metagabbro (high Cr/V) and quartz-rich (meta)sediment (low Sr/Pb). Therefore, lawsonite trace and rare earth element compositions effectively record element redistribution driven by metamorphic reactions and fluid-rock interactions that occurred in subduction systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberegac065
JournalJournal of Petrology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2022

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  • fluid
  • lawsonite
  • metamorphism
  • metasomatism
  • subduction


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