Preferential Orthopyroxene Serpentinization and Implications for Seismic Velocity Interpretation in the Fore-Arc Mantle

T. Nakatani, M. Nakamura

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3 Citations (Scopus)


For better interpretation of seismic tomography data of the hydrated fore-arc mantle, we examined conditions of nonstoichiometric hydration of peridotite reported by a previous experimental study (i.e., preferential orthopyroxene (Opx) serpentinization and resultant talc formation) at 500–580 °C and under 0.8–1.8 GPa. The corresponding seismic velocity was calculated by considering the talc production. Talc formed under all the experimental conditions even in the olivine-dominated system, in which the olivine to Opx ratio was 7:3 by weight. The amount of talc produced was comparable to that of serpentine at high temperature and low pressure and increased with increasing temperature and decreasing pressure due to decreasing contribution of olivine in the reaction. We also present a natural case of preferential Opx reaction in the Horoman peridotite complex, Japan, on the basis of its strong similarity in textures and mineral phases to our experimental products obtained at 0.8–1.3 GPa. Calculations on seismic velocities of hydrated harzburgite using the Voigt-Reuss-Hill averaging scheme showed that the formation of talc along with antigorite leads to a decrease in P wave (Vp) and S wave velocities (Vs) but no remarkable increase in Vp/Vs due to the lower Vp/Vs value of talc (~1.60) compared with that of antigorite (~1.77). Such a seismic anomaly has been observed in the shallow mantle wedge of the southern Western Alps subduction zone, where suppressed water supply from the subducted continental lithosphere might allow the persistence of talc produced by the preferential Opx reaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3420-3435
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Apr


  • mantle wedge
  • orthopyroxene
  • piston cylinder
  • seismic velocity
  • serpentinization
  • talc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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