Changes in illite crystallinity within an ancient tectonic boundary thrust caused by thermal, mechanical, and hydrothermal effects: an example from the Nobeoka Thrust, southwest Japan
Earth, Planets and Space
Illite crystallinity (IC), the full width at half maximum of the illite (001) peak in clay-fraction X-ray diffraction (XRD), is a common geothermometer widely applied to various tectonic settings. Paleotemperature estimation using IC presents methodological ambiguity because IC is not only affected by background temperature but also by mechanical, hydrothermal, and surface weathering effects. To clarify the influences of these effects on IC in the fault zone, we analyzed the IC and the illite
... 1 peak intensity of continuous borehole core samples from the Nobeoka Thrust, a fossilized tectonic boundary thrust in the Shimanto Belt, the Cretaceous-Paleogene Shimanto accretionary complex in southwest Japan. We also carried out grinding experiments on borehole core samples and sericite standard samples as starting materials and investigated the effect of mechanical comminution on the IC and illite peak intensity of the experimental products. We observed the following: (1) the paleotemperatures of the hanging wall and footwall of the Nobeoka Thrust are estimated to be 288°C to 299°C and 198°C to 249°C, respectively, which are approximately 20°C to 30°C lower than their previously reported temperatures estimated by vitrinite reflectance; (2) the fault core of the Nobeoka Thrust does not exhibit IC decrease; (3) the correlation of IC and illite peak intensity in the hanging wall damage zone were well reproduced by the grinding experiment, suggesting that the effect of mechanical comminution increases toward the fault core and; (4) the abrupt increase in IC value accompanied by high illite peak intensity is explained by hydrothermal alterations including plagioclase breakdown and the formation of white micas. Our results indicate that IC has potential for quantifying the effects of mechanical comminution and hydrothermal alteration within a fault zone.