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Serpentinite matrix melange; implications of mixed provenance for melange formation

John W. Shervais, Sung Hi Choi, Warren D. Sharp, Jeffrey Ross, Marchell Zoglman-Schuman and Samuel B. Mukasa
Serpentinite matrix melange; implications of mixed provenance for melange formation (in Melanges; processes of formation and societal significance, John Wakabayashi (editor) and Yildirim Dilek (editor))
Special Paper - Geological Society of America (August 2011) 480: 1-30


Serpentinite matrix melange represents a significant, if less common, component of many accretionary complexes. There are two principal hypotheses for the origin of serpentinite melange: (1) formation on the seafloor in a fracture zone-transform fault setting, and (2) formation within a subduction zone with mixing of rocks derived from both the upper and lower plates. The first hypothesis requires that the sheared serpentinite matrix be derived from hydrated abyssal peridotites and that the block assemblage consist exclusively of oceanic rocks (abyssal peridotites, oceanic basalts, and pelagic sediments). The second hypothesis implies that the sheared serpentinite matrix is derived from hydrated refractory peridotites with supra-subduction zone affinities, and that the block assemblage includes rocks derived from both the upper plate (forearc peridotites, arc volcanics, sediments) and the lower plate (abyssal peridotites, oceanic basalts, pelagic sediments). In either case, serpentinite melange may include true melange, with exotic blocks derived from other sources, and serpentinite broken formation, where the blocks are massive peridotite. The Tehama-Colusa serpentinite melange underlies the Coast Range Ophiolite in northern California and separates it from high-pressure/temperature (P/T) metamorphic rocks of the Franciscan Complex. It has been interpreted both as an accreted fracture zone terrane and as a subduction-derived melange belt. Our data show that the melange matrix represents hydrated refractory peridotites with forearc affinities, and that blocks within the melange consist largely of upper plate lithologies (refractory forearc harzburgite, arc volcanics, arc-derived sediments, and chert with Coast Range Ophiolite biostratigraphy). Lower plate blocks within the melange include oceanic basalts and chert with rare blueschist and amphibolite. Hornblendes from three amphibolite blocks that crop out in serpentinite melange and sedimentary serpentinite yield (super 40) Ar/ (super 39) Ar plateau ages of 165.6-167.5 Ma, similar to published ages of high-grade blocks within the Franciscan Complex and to crystallization ages in the Coast Range Ophiolite. Other blocks have uncertain provenance. It has been shown that peridotite blocks within the melange have low pyroxene equilibration temperatures that are consistent with formation in a fracture zone setting. However, the current melange reflects largely upper-plate lithologies in both its matrix and its constituent blocks. We propose that the proto-Franciscan subduction zone nucleated on a large offset transform fault-fracture zone that evolved into a subduction zone melange complex. Melange matrix was formed by the hydration and volume expansion of refractory forearc peridotite, followed by subsequent shear deformation. Melange blocks were formed largely by the breakup of upper plate crust and lithosphere, with minor offscraping and incorporation of lower plate crust. We propose that the methods discussed here can be applied to serpentinite matrix melange worldwide in order to understand better the tectonic evolution of the orogens in which they occur.

ISSN: 0072-1077
EISSN: 2331-219X
Serial Title: Special Paper - Geological Society of America
Serial Volume: 480
Title: Serpentinite matrix melange; implications of mixed provenance for melange formation
Title: Melanges; processes of formation and societal significance
Author(s): Shervais, John W.Choi, Sung HiSharp, Warren D.Ross, JeffreyZoglman-Schuman, MarchellMukasa, Samuel B.
Author(s): Wakabayashi, Johneditor
Author(s): Dilek, Yildirimeditor
Affiliation: Utah State University, Department of Geology, Logan, UT, United States
Affiliation: California State University, Fresno, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Fresno, CA, United States
Pages: 1-30
Published: 201108
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
ISBN: 978-0-8137-2480-5
References: 147
Accession Number: 2012-007629
Categories: Igneous and metamorphic petrologyStructural geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: Includes appendices
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 2 tables, sketch map
N39°00'00" - N40°00'00", W122°45'00" - W122°19'60"
Secondary Affiliation: Miami University, USA, United StatesChungnam National University, KOR, South KoreaBerkeley Geochronological Center, USA, United StatesStony Brook University, USA, United StatesUniversity of South Carolina, USA, United StatesUniversity of Michigan at Ann Arbor, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201204
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