Geochemical constraints on the temperature and timing of carbonate formation and lithification in the Nankai Trough, NanTroSEIZE transect

James C. Sample, Marta E. Torres, Andrew Fisher, Wei Li Hong, Christine Destrigneville, William F. Defliese, Aradhna E. Tripati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Information about diagenetic processes and temperatures during burial of sediments entering the subduction zone is important for understanding changes in physical properties and seismic behavior during deformation. The geochemistry of authigenic carbonates from accretionary prisms can serve as proxies for conditions during carbonate cementation and resultant lithification. We report results from the Nankai accretionary prism recovered from Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) sites C0011 and C0012 and we document continued cementation of deep sediment sections prior to subduction. Elemental and isotope data provide evidence for complex mixing of different isotopic reservoirs in pore waters contributing to carbonate chemical signatures. Carbon stable isotope values exhibit a broad range (δ13CV-PDB = +0.1‰ to −22.5‰) that corresponds to different stages of cement formation during burial. Carbonate formation temperatures from carbonate-clumped isotope geochemistry range from 16 °C to 63 °C at Site C0011 and 8.7 °C to 68 °C at Site C0012. The correspondence between the clumped-isotope temperatures and extrapolations of measured in situ temperatures indicate the carbonate is continuing to form at present. Calculated water isotopic compositions are in some cases enriched in 18O relative to measured interstitial waters suggesting a component of inherited seawater or input from clay-bound water. Low oxygen isotope values and the observed Ba/Ca ratios are also consistent with carbonate cementation at depth. Strontium isotopes of interstitial waters (87Sr/86Sr of 0.7059–0.7069) and carbonates (87Sr/86Sr of 0.70715–0.70891) support formation of carbonates from a mixture of strontium reservoirs including current interstitial waters and relic seawater contemporaneous with deposition. Collectively our data reflect mixed sources of dissolved inorganic carbon and cations that include authigenic phases driven by organic carbon and volcanic alteration reactions. Physical properties of input sediments continue to undergo modification by carbonate cementation at present. Due to ongoing recrystallization, temperatures from carbonate-clumped isotopes reflect the modern geothermal gradient and may serve as useful measures of geothermal gradients in other siliciclastic basins where carbonate cementation occurs. We conclude that clumped-isotope signatures in authigenic carbonates from accretionary prisms are important proxies for the timing and conditions of cementation in active margins. Our results highlight the importance of using multi-proxy approaches to elucidate the history of carbonate cementation, particularly to establish carbonate precipitation at depth and its potential impact on the physical and mechanical properties of the sediment prior to subduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-114
Number of pages23
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • Carbonate formation
  • Clumped isotopes
  • Geothermal gradient
  • Nankai Trough

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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