Subduction recycling

The Alps are an exciting natural laboratory to study subduction zone processes. There are slices of subducted oceanic and continental crust that document metamorphism from conditions typical of accretionary prisms to deep metamorphism in the subducted slab of up to 120 km depth. Many interesting problems of fluid-rock interaction, trace element characteristics, rates of subduction and exhumation are still poorly studied and provide a fertile field for future research. We are interested in the link between structures, fluid flow and metasomatism in subducted slab and the mantle wedge and how this impacts on the global element recycling. Of particular interest is the recycling of K, Th and U as these are the main heat producing elements on Earth.

In the future we plan to focus our efforts on fluid mediated metasomatism at contacts of rock types with different compositions, on trace element distribution in a large variety of subducted rock types, oxides and sulfides in HP rocks, and on the redistribution and liberation of volatiles during high-pressure metamorphism. Special emphasis will be placed to constrain the recycling of Cl through detailed studies of Cl incorporation into mica and apatite using a combined approach of electron microprobe, SIMS and FTIR analyses.