Flow in the uppermost mantle during back-arc spreading revealed by Ichinomegata peridotite xenoliths, NE Japan

Takako Satsukawa*, Katsuyoshi Michibayashi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Spinel peridotite xenoliths from the Ichinomegata Volcano (NE Japan) have distinct foliations defined by compositional layering between olivine-rich and pyroxene-rich layers as well as lineations defined by elongated spinel grains. Crystallographic preferred orientations (CPOs) of olivine are consistent with slip on (010)[100] and {0kl}[100]. The angles between the foliation and the olivine slip planes decrease with increasing values of the J-index (i.e. CPO strength). Such composite planar relationships within the peridotite xenoliths could result from shearing in the uppermost mantle, so that shear strains can be estimated by the angles between the foliation and the olivine slip plane in terms of simple shear strain (0.31-4.26). From these observations, we argue that a suite of the peridotite xenoliths recorded a rare snapshot of uppermost-mantle flow related to back-arc spreading during the opening of the Japan Sea. The peridotite xenoliths with higher J-indices (i.e. higher shear strain) tend to have slightly lower minimum temperatures, possibly defining a vertical strain gradient in the uppermost mantle section at the time of the volcano's eruption. The CPO data have been used to calculate the seismic properties of the xenoliths at PT conditions obtained from geothermobarometry, and are compared to field geophysical data from the literature. Our results are consistent with a roughly EW-oriented fastest P-wave propagation direction in the uppermost mantle beneath the northeast part of the Japan arc. Average samples are calculated based on three different structural reference frames; horizontal plane parallel to 1) foliation, 2) the plane containing the maximum concentration of olivine [100], and 3) P-wave maximum direction. S-wave anisotropy deduced from CPOs requires a reasonable thickness of the anisotropic layer (24.1-26.6. km), and the structural reference frame does not have significant effect on the estimation of thickness. Consequently, Ichinomegata peridotites record a long and complicated tectonic history; they preserve deformation 'frozen in' during back-arc spreading and this deformation also has an effect on present-day mantle flow.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-104
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Back-arc spreading
  • Crystallographic preferred orientation (CPO)
  • Ichinomegata
  • Japan sea opening
  • Olivine
  • Peridotite xenolith


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