Isotopic compositions of sulfides in exhumed high-pressure terranes: Implications for sulfur cycling in subduction zones

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Sulfur isotopes
Sulfur cycle
Volcanic arc
Subduction is a key component of Earth's long‐term sulfur cycle; however, the mechanisms that drive sulfur from subducting slabs remain elusive. Isotopes are a sensitive indicator of the speciation of sulfur in fluids, sulfide dissolution‐precipitation reactions, and inferring fluid sources. To investigate these processes, we report δ34S values determined by secondary ion mass spectroscopy in sulfides from a global suite of exhumed high‐pressure rocks. Sulfides are classified into two petrogenetic groups: (1) metamorphic, which represent closed‐system (re)crystallization from protolith‐inherited sulfur, and (2) metasomatic, which formed during open system processes, such as an influx of oxidized sulfur. The δ34S values for metamorphic sulfides tend to reflect their precursor compositions: −4.3 ‰ to +13.5 ‰ for metabasic rocks, and −32.4 ‰ to −11.0 ‰ for metasediments. Metasomatic sulfides exhibit a range of δ34S from −21.7 ‰ to +13.9 ‰. We suggest that sluggish sulfur self‐diffusion prevents isotopic fractionation during sulfide breakdown and that slab fluids inherit the isotopic composition of their source. We estimate a composition of −11 ‰ to +8 ‰ for slab fluids, a significantly smaller range than observed for metasomatic sulfides. Large fractionations during metasomatic sulfide precipitation from sulfate‐bearing fluids, and an evolving fluid composition during reactive transport may account for the entire ~36 ‰ range of metasomatic sulfide compositions. Thus, we suggest that sulfates are likely the dominant sulfur species in slab‐derived fluids.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2019. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems 20(7), (2019): 3347-3374, doi:10.1029/2019GC008374.
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Walters, J. B., Cruz-Uribe, A. M., & Marschall, H. R. (2019). Isotopic compositions of sulfides in exhumed high-pressure terranes: Implications for sulfur cycling in subduction zones. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, 20(7), 3347-3374.
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