Cubic Fe-bearing majorite synthesized at 18-25 GPa and 1000 °C: implications for element transport, subducted slab rheology and diamond formation

V. Stagno, L. Bindi, B. Bonechi, S. Greaux, S. Aulbach, T. Irifune, S. Lupi, G. Marras, C. A. McCammon, M. Nazzari, F. Piccirilli, B. Poe, C. Romano and P. Scarlato

Research Square (2023)
The chemistry and mineralogy of slabs subducted into lower mantle control slab rheology and impacts the deep volatile cycle. It is known that the metamorphism of little-altered oceanic crust results in eclogite rocks with subequal proportions of garnet and clinopyroxene. With increasing pressure, these minerals react to stabilize pyrope-rich tetragonal majoritic garnet. However, some eclogites contain higher proportions of omphacitic clinopyroxene, caused by Na- and Si-rich metasomatism on the ocean floor or during subduction. The mineralogy of such eclogites is expected to evolve differently. Here, we discuss the results of the crystallization products of omphacitic glass at ~18 and ~25 GPa and 1000 °C to simulate P-T regimes of cold subduction. The full characterization of the recovered samples indicates evidence of crystallization of Na-, Si-rich cubic instead of tetragonal majorite. This cubic majorite can incorporate large amounts of ferric iron, promoting redox reactions with surrounding volatile-bearing fluids and, ultimately, diamond formation. In addition, the occurrence of cubic majorite in the slab would affect the local density, favoring the continued buoyancy of the slab as previously proposed by seismic observations. Attention must be paid to omphacitic inclusions in sublithospheric diamonds as these might have experienced back-transformation from the HP isochemical cubic phase.