Using a recently developed petrogenetic grid for MORB + H2O, we propose a new model for the transportation of water from the subducting slab into the mantle transition zone. Depending on the geothermal gradient, two contrasting water-transportation mechanisms operate at depth in a subduction zone. If the geothermal gradient is low, lawsonite carries H2O into mantle depths of 300 km; with further subduction down to the mantle transition depth (approximately 400 km) lawsonite is no longer stable and thereafter H2O is once migrated upward to the mantle wedge then again carried down to the transition zone due to the induced convection. At this depth, hydrous β-phase olivine is stable and plays a role as a huge water reservoir. In contrast, if the geothermal gradient is high, the subducted slab may melt at 700-900 °C at depths shallower than 80 km to form felsic melt, into which water is dissolved. In this case, H2O cannot be transported into the mantle below 80 km. Between these two end-member mechanisms, two intermediate types are present. In the high-pressure intermediate type, the hydrous phase A plays an important role to carry water into the mantle transition zone. Water liberated by the lawsonite-consuming continuous reaction moves upward to form hydrous phase A in the hanging wall, which transports water into deeper mantle. This is due to a unique character of the reaction, because Phase A can become stable through the hydration reaction of olivine. In the case of low-pressure intermediate type, the presence of a dry mantle wedge below 100 km acts as a barrier to prevent H2O from entering into deeper mantle.
- Subduction zone geotherms
- Water transportation to deeper mantle
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