Rupture of wet mantle wedge by self-promoting carbonation

Atsushi Okamoto, Ryosuke Oyanagi, Kazuki Yoshida, Masaoki Uno, Hiroyuki Shimizu, Madhusoodhan Satish-Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


More than one teramole of carbon per year is subducted as carbonate or carbonaceous material. However, the influence of carbonation/decarbonation reactions on seismic activity within subduction zones is poorly understood. Here we present field and microstructural observations, including stable isotope analyses, of carbonate veins within the Higuchi ser-pentinite body, Japan. We find that the carbon and oxygen isotope compositions of carbonate veins indicate that carbonic fluids originated from organic materials in metasediments. Thermodynamic calculations reveal that carbonation of serpentinite was accompanied by a solid volume decrease, dehydration, and high magnesium mobility. We propose that carbonation of the mantle wedge occurs episodically in a self-promoting way and is controlled by a solid volume contraction and fluid overpressure. In our conceptual model, brittle fracturing and carbonate precipitation were followed by ductile flow of carbonates and hydrous minerals; this might explain the occurrence of episodic tremor and slip in the serpentinized mantle wedge.

Original languageEnglish
Article number151
JournalCommunications Earth and Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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