Abstract

On Santa Catalina Island, southern California, blueschist to amphibolite facies metasedimentary, metamafic, and meta-ultramafic rocks show veining and alteration that reflect fluid flow and mass transfer at 25-45 km depths in an Early Cretaceous subduction zone. Synkinematic and postkinematic veins record fluid transport and metasomatism during prograde metamorphism and uplift. Vein and host-rock mineralogy and whole-rock compositions demonstrate large-scale chemical redistribution, especially of Si and alkali elements. Veins and host rocks trend toward isotopic equilibration with aqueous fluids with δ18OSMOW = +13‰ ± 1‰. The likely source for these fluids is in lower temperature, sediment-rich parts of the subduction zone. Carbon isotope systematics support this conclusion and indicate the influence of an organic C source. Quartz solubility relations indicate the importance of fluid-flow paths in chemical redistribution during subduction. These results document large-scale fluid flow and the complexity of possible metasomatic and mechanical mixing processes at intermediate levels of subduction zones. The record of subduction-zone mass transfer in the Catalina Schist is compatible with the record inferred for greater depths from geochemical and petrologic studies of arc magmatism.

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