Crustal melting in orogenic belts revealed by eclogite thermal properties
Baohua Zhang, Hongzhan Fei, Jianhua Ge, Lingsen Zeng & Qunke Xia
Partial melting in the continental crust may play a critical role on the behavior of continents during collision. However, the occurrence of partial melt in orogenic continental crust is not well understood. Since the temperature of the orogen is controlled by the thermal properties of constituent rocks, we measured the thermal conductivity and diffusivity of eclogite, the most important ultrahigh pressure metamorphic rocks, as a function of pressure, temperature, composition, and water content, and simulated the thermal structure of the Sulu and Himalaya-Tibet orogens in eastern and southwestern China, respectively. Our results show that the temperature at ~30-km depth beneath the orogens reaches the solidus of wet granite and phengite (~940 K), therefore, the partial melting in the orogenic continental crust is well explained. The melt may facilitate the exhumation of subducted crust, produce the low seismic-velocity zone, and cause the high-conductivity anomaly in the shallow depth of orogenic belts.
thermal properties, geophysical