Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 155, Issue 1, pp 19–32 | Cite as

Tourmaline breakdown in a pelitic system: implications for boron cycling through subduction zones

  • Tsutomu Ota
  • Katsura Kobayashi
  • Tomoo Katsura
  • Eizo Nakamura
Original Paper


Pressure–temperature conditions of tourmaline breakdown in a metapelite were determined by high-pressure experiments at 700–900°C and 4–6 GPa. These experiments produced an eclogite–facies assemblage of garnet, clinopyroxene, phengite, coesite, kyanite and rare rutile. The modal proportions of tourmaline clearly decreased between 4.5 and 5 GPa at 700°C, between 4 and 4.5 GPa at 800°C, and between 800 and 850°C at 4 GPa, with tourmaline that survived the higher temperature conditions appearing corroded and thus metastable. Decreases in the modal abundance of tourmaline are accompanied by decreasing modal abundance of coesite, and increasing that of clinopyroxene, garnet and kyanite; the boron content of phengite increases significantly. These changes suggest that, with increasing pressure and temperature, tourmaline reacts with coesite to produce clinopyroxene, garnet, kyanite, and boron-bearing phengite and fluid. Our results suggest that: (1) tourmaline breakdown occurs at lower pressures and temperatures in SiO2-saturated systems than in SiO2-undersaturated systems. (2) In even cold subduction zones, subducting sediments should release boron-rich fluids by tourmaline breakdown before reaching depths of 150 km, and (3) even after tourmaline breakdown, a significant amount of boron partitioned into phengite could be stored in deeply subducted sediments.


Boron Tourmaline Subduction zone High-pressure experiment 



We are grateful to Max Schmidt, Darrell Henry, Tetsuo Kawakami, Gray Bebout for their critical reading of early versions of manuscript. Constructive comments from two anonymous referees and the journal editor, Tim Grove, are also appreciated. Useful discussion with Takuya Moriguti, Ryoji Tanaka and Tomohiro Usui, and improving English with helpful comments by Bence Paul, Maureen Feineman and Ian Buick are acknowledged. The Kokchetav sample used in this study was collected by Shigenori Maruyama and his co-workers of the Kokchetav research group; who are thanked. The first author thanks Kenji Shimizu and Eiji Ito for their technical advice on high-pressure experiments, and Takuya Matsuzaki for his help with the electron microprobe and X-ray diffraction analyses. This study was financially supported by the twenty-first century COE program to ISEI, and Grant-in-Aids from Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and from Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tsutomu Ota
    • 1
  • Katsura Kobayashi
    • 1
  • Tomoo Katsura
    • 1
  • Eizo Nakamura
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Study of the Earth’s InteriorOkayama UniversityMisasa, TottoriJapan

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