Magnetic signatures of serpentinization at ophiolite complexes Journal Article uri icon

DCO ID 11121/4084-9457-9327-7244-CC

is Contribution to the DCO

  • YES

year of publication

  • 2016


  • We compare magnetic properties of 58 variably serpentinized peridotites from three ophiolite complexes (Pindos, Greece; Oman; Chenaillet, France) and the mid-Atlantic Ridge near the Kane fracture zone (MARK). The Pindos and Oman sites show low susceptibility and remanence (K < 0.02 SI; Ms  < 0.4 Am2 /kg), while the Chenaillet and MARK sites show instead high susceptibility and remanence (K up to 0.15 SI; Ms up to 6 Am2 /kg), regardless of serpentinization degree. Petrographic observations confirm that Pindos and Oman samples contain serpentine with very little magnetite, while Chenaillet and MARK samples display abundant magnetite in serpentine mesh cells. Bulk rock analyses show similar amounts of ferric iron at a given serpentinization degree, suggesting that iron is oxidized during the serpentinization reaction in both cases, but that its distribution among phases differs. Microprobe analyses show iron-rich serpentine minerals (5–7 wt % FeO) in low-susceptibility samples, while iron-poor serpentine minerals (2–4 wt % FeO) occur in high susceptibility samples. The contrasted magnetic properties between the two groups of sites thus reflect different iron partitioning during serpentinization, that must be related to distinct conditions at which the serpentinization reaction takes place. We propose that magnetic properties of ophiolitic serpentinites can be used as a proxy to differentiate between high temperature serpentinization (>∼250–300°C) occurring at the axis (i.e., Chenaillet, similar to serpentinites from magmatically poor mid-ocean ridges), from lower temperature serpentinization (<∼200–250°C), likely occurring off axis and possibly during obduction (i.e., Pindos and Oman). At both settings, serpentinization can result in significant hydrogen release.


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