Petrologic studies of the Kotsu eclogite from the Sambagawa high-pressure (P), low-temperature (T) metamorphic belt show that the eclogite has recorded a very steep subduction-stage P-T path reaching 20 kbar and 600 °C; the dP/dT is >7.1 kbar/100 °C. Compilation of previously derived subduction-stage P-T paths from the Sambagawa belt and the result of this study show that these P-T paths are not on a straight line from the origin, but define a curve with dP/dT increasing with pressure. A new model incorporating the progressive approach of an oceanic ridge to a subduction zone shows that the Sambagawa P-T paths are best explained by a setting in which a ridge is close to being subducted at a slow rate relative to the plate-subduction rate. Exhumation of high-P, low-T metamorphic rocks in oceanic subduction zones may be associated with the slow approach and subsequent subduction of oceanic ridges.

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