In situ Sr isotope analysis of mantle carbonates: Constraints on the evolution and sources of metasomatic carbon-bearing fluids in a paleo-collisional setting

Giulia Consuma, Roberto Braga, Tommaso Giovanardi, Danilo Bersani, Jürgen Konzett, Federico Lugli, Maurizio Mazzucchelli, Peter Tropper

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Carbonate-bearing wedge peridotites attest the mobilization of carbon (C) by slab fluids/melts circulating in a subduction setting. In general, COH fluids are thought to derive from the dehydration/partial melting of the crustal portions of slabs, especially during the exhumation of crust-mantle mélanges along continental subduction channels. In this study we combined textural observations with in-situ Sr isotope analyses of mantle carbonates occurring in different microstructural sites to test whether the fluids responsible for the carbonation of a mantle wedge are derived from the subducted continental crust or not. We focus on the Ulten Zone peridotites (Eastern Italian Alps) associated with high-grade felsic rocks, where carbonates occur mainly as dolomite and minor magnesite and calcite. In situ laser MC-ICP-MS analysis of peridotites representing different episodes of a complex metasomatic history, indicates that Sr isotopic variations can be linked to the different microstructural positions of carbonates. The C-metasomatism of the UZ peridotites is proposed to have occurred in two stages. The first stage is the HP‑carbonation at peak (eclogite-facies) conditions, with formation of interstitial matrix dolomite in textural equilibrium with hornblende to pargasite amphibole and Cl-apatite. This dolomite exhibits relatively unradiogenic 87Sr/86Sr present day values of 0.70487±0.00010, requiring different sources with respect to the associated migmatites and the overhanging mantle wedge. Carbonation continued during exhumation, with local injection of C-rich fluids forming a dolomite vein in association with tremolite and chlorite. The dolomite vein shows a wide range of 87Sr/86Sr (0.7036–0.7083), reflecting both the primary composition of carbonates and the consequent interaction with crustal fluids as expected in a crust-mantle mélange. The second stage is C-remobilization by dolomite dissolution and precipitation of brucite intergrowths with calcite during the final exhumation. This remobilization event has resulted in a similar Sr composition to the precursor dolomite. The mantle wedge is therefore capable of storing carbonates which have been shown to represent a complex metasomatic evolution from eclogite-facies conditions to very shallow structural levels. Therefore, fluids released from subducting slabs of continental lithosphere might be responsible for the crystallization of metasomatic minerals such as amphibole, phlogopite and zircon in the overlying ultramafic rocks. Conversely, the role of these metasomatic fluids on the carbonation of mantle wedge is likely overestimated. The combination of geochemical, isotopic and textural evidence suggests that dolomite inclusions and interstitial dolomite are derived in large part from a distinct source of C-bearing fluids that could be related to depleted mantle wedge sources and/or trondhjemitic igneous activity. In contrast, at the end of exhumation, residual COH-fluids released by the associated stromatic gneisses and orthogneisses resulted in late-stage dolomite veins having the highest Sr isotope values in the Ulten Zone peridotites.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105334
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes


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