Geological evidence for shallow ductile-brittle transition zones along subduction interfaces: example from the Shimanto Belt, SW Japan
Earth, Planets and Space
Tectonic mélange zones within ancient accretionary complexes include various styles of strain accommodation along subduction interfaces from shallow to deep. The ductile-brittle transition at shallower portions of the subduction plate boundary was identified in three tectonic mélange zones (Mugi mélange, Yokonami mélange, and Miyama formation) in the Cretaceous Shimanto Belt, an on-land accretionary complex in southwest Japan. The transition is defined by a change in deformation features from
... tension veins only in sandstone blocks with ductile matrix deformation (possibly by diffusion-precipitation creep) to shear veins (brittle failure) from shallow to deep. Although mélange fabrics represent distributed simple to sub-simple shear deformation, localized shear veins are commonly accompanied by slickenlines and a mirror surface. Pressure-temperature (P-T) conditions for extension veins in sandstone blocks and for shear veins are distinct on the basis of fluid inclusion analysis. For extension veins, P-T conditions are approximately 125 to 220°C and 80 to 210 MPa. For shear veins, P-T conditions are approximately 185 to 270°C and 110 to 300 MPa. The P-T conditions for shear veins are, on average, higher than those for extension veins. The temperature conditions overlap in the range of approximately 175 to 210°C, which suggests that the change from more ductile to brittle processes occurs over a range of depths. The width of the shallow ductile-brittle transition zone can be explained by a heterogeneous lithification state for sandstone and mudstone or high fluid pressure caused by clay dehydration, which is controlled by the temperature conditions.