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Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems

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Abstract/ Summary

We address under what conditions a magma generated by partial melting at 100 km depth in the mantle wedge above a subduction zone can reach the crust in dikes before stalling. We also address under what conditions primitive basaltic magma (Mg # >60) can be delivered from this depth to the crust. We employ linear elastic fracture mechanics with magma solidification theory and perform a parametric sensitivity analysis. All dikes are initiated at a depth of 100 km in the thermal core of the wedge, and the Moho is fixed at 35 km depth. We consider a range of melt solidus temperatures (800-1100 degrees C), viscosities (10-100 Pa s), and densities (2400-2700 kg m(-3)). We also consider a range of host rock fracture toughness values (50-300 MPa m(1/2)) and dike lengths (2-5 km) and two thermal structures for the mantle wedge (1260 and 1400 degrees C at 100 km depth and 760 and 900 degrees C at 35 km depth). For the given parameter space, many dikes can reach the Moho in less than a few hundred hours, well within the time constraints provided by U series isotope disequilibria studies. Increasing the temperature in the mantle wedge, or increasing the dike length, allows additional dikes to propagate to the Moho. We conclude that some dikes with vertical lengths near their critical lengths and relatively high solidus temperatures will stall in the mantle before reaching the Moho, and these may be returned by corner flow to depths where they can melt under hydrous conditions. Thus, a chemical signature in arc lavas suggesting partial melting of slab basalts may be partly influenced by these recycled dikes. Alternatively, dikes with lengths well above their critical lengths can easily deliver primitive magmas to the crust, particularly if the mantle wedge is relatively hot. Dike transport remains a viable primary mechanism of magma ascent in convergent tectonic settings, but the potential for less rapid mechanisms making an important contribution increases as the mantle temperature at the Moho approaches the solidus temperature of the magma.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Johnson, SE, and Jin, ZH, 2009, Magma Extraction from the Mantle Wedge at Convergent Margins Through Dikes: A Parametric Sensitivity Analysis: Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, v. 10, Q08017. To view the published open abstract, go to and enter the DOI.

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© Copyright 2009 American Geophysical Union




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