Geochemical evidence for enhanced fluid flux due to overlapping subducting plates

  • A Corrigendum to this article was published on 01 September 2008


Aqueous fluids released from subducting plates play an important role in magma generation in many arc settings1,2,3,4. However, different hypotheses have been proposed for the origin of these fluids, the extent to which they mix with the mantle wedge and spatial variations in their composition2,3,4, especially at complex settings involving more than one subducting plate. Central Japan is one such setting, where the Pacific and Philippine Sea plates subduct underneath the North American and Eurasian plates and cause extensive arc magmatism to the west and north of Tokyo. Here, we use geochemical data for rocks from 28 Quaternary volcanoes in central Japan to quantify the relative contribution of fluids originating from the two subducting plates and their spatial distribution. We find that the fluid originating from the Philippine Sea plate is chemically distinct and its flux is localized, as compared with the larger-scale flux from the Pacific plate. In the regions where these two plates overlap, the Philippine Sea plate does not seem to significantly inhibit fluid flow from the Pacific plate below; instead, this geometry leads to enhanced fluid flux. Regional variations in fluid flux and composition are controlled primarily by the geometry and configuration of the subducting plates.

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Figure 1: Tectonic setting and sample localities in central Japan.
Figure 2: Spatial variations of 143Nd/144Nd and 207Pb/204 Pb of the Quaternary volcanic rocks in central Japan.
Figure 3: The Nb/Pb versus 207Pb/204Pb and 207Pb/204Pb versus 143Nd/144Nd diagrams of volcanic rocks.
Figure 4: Spatial distribution of fluid flux from the PAC and PHS slabs.


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We would like to thank T. Iidaka, T. Kaneko, Y. Kato, J.-I. Nakajima, I. Ogitsu and T. Seno for discussions and help, and R. King, T. Churikova for constructive comments.

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H.N. carried out the field work and the chemical and isotopic analyses. H.N. and H.I. modelled mixing systematics of the isotopic and chemical compositions and J.-.I.K. conducted the laboratory work for isotopic analysis. All of the authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Hitomi Nakamura or Jun-Ichi Kimura.

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Nakamura, H., Iwamori, H. & Kimura, J. Geochemical evidence for enhanced fluid flux due to overlapping subducting plates. Nature Geosci 1, 380–384 (2008).

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