Investigations of microstructures are crucial if we are to understand the seismic anisotropy of subducting oceanic crust, and here we report on our systematic fabric analyses of glaucophane, lawsonite, and epidote in naturally deformed blueschists from the Diablo Range and Franciscan Complex in California, and the Hida Mountains in Japan. Glaucophanes in the analyzed samples consist of very fine grains that are well aligned along the foliation and have high aspect ratios and strong crystal preferred orientations (CPOs) characterized by a (100) pattern. These characteristics, together with a bimodal distribution of grain sizes from some samples, possibly indicate the occurrence of dynamic recrystallization for glaucophane. Although lawsonite and epidote display high aspect ratios and a strong CPO of (001), the occurrence of straight grain boundaries and euhedral crystals indicates that rigid body rotation was the dominant deformation mechanism. The P-wave (AVP) and S-wave (AVS) seismic anisotropies of glaucophane (AVP=20.4%, AVS=11.5%) and epidote (AVP=9.0%, AVS=8.0%) are typical of the crust; consequently, the fastest propagation of P-waves is parallel to the  maxima, and the polarization of S-waves parallel to the foliation can form a trench-parallel seismic anisotropy owing to the slowest VS polarization being normal to the subducting slab. The seismic anisotropy of lawsonite (AVP=9.6%, AVS=19.9%) is characterized by the fast propagation of P-waves subnormal to the lawsonite  maxima and polarization of S-waves perpendicular to the foliation and lineation, which can generate a trench-normal anisotropy. The AVS of lawsonite blueschist (5.6-9.2%) is weak compared with that of epidote blueschist (8.4-11.1%). Calculations of the thickness of the anisotropic layer indicate that glaucophane and lawsonite contribute to the trench-parallel and trench-normal seismic anisotropy beneath NE Japan, but not to that beneath the Ryukyu arc. Our results demonstrate, therefore, that lawsonite has a strong influence on seismic velocities in the oceanic crust, and that lawsonite might be the cause of complex anisotropic patterns in subduction zones.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
- Space and Planetary Science