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Mariana serpentinite mud volcanism exhumes subducted seamount materials: implications for the origin of life

Patricia Fryer 1 C. Geoffrey Wheat 2 Trevor Williams 3 Christopher Kelley 1 Kevin Johnson 1 Jeffrey Ryan 4 Walter Kurz 5 John Shervais 6 Elmar Albers 7 Barbara A. Bekins 8 Baptiste Debret 9 Jianghong Deng 10 Yanhui Dong 11 Philip Eickenbusch 12 Emanuelle Frery 13 Yuji Ichiyama 14 Raymond Johnston 4 Richard Kervokian 15 Vitor Magalhaes 16 Simone Mantovanelli 17 Walter Menapace 18 Catriona Menzies 19 Katsuyoshi Michibayashi 20 Craig L Moyer 21 Kelli Mullane 22 Jung-Woo Park 23 Roy Price 24 Olivier Sissman 25 Shino Suzuki 26 Ken Takai 27 Bastien Walter 28 Zhang Rui 29 Diva Amon 30 Deborah Glickson 31 Shirley Pomponi 32
Abstract : The subduction of seamounts and ridge features at convergent plate boundaries plays an important role in the deformation of the overriding plate and influences geochemical cycling and associated biological processes. Active serpentinization of forearc mantle and serpentinite mud volcanism on the Mariana forearc (between the trench and active volcanic arc) provides windows on subduction processes.  Here, we present (1) the first observation of an extensive exposure of an undeformed Cretaceous seamount currently being subducted at the Mariana Trench inner slope; (2) vertical deformation of the forearc region related to subduction of Pacific Plate seamounts and thickened crust; (3) recovered Ocean Drilling Program and International Ocean Discovery Program cores of serpentinite mudflows that confirm exhumation of various Pacific Plate lithologies, including subducted reef limestone; (4) petrologic, geochemical and paleontological data from the cores that show that Pacific Plate seamount exhumation covers greater spatial and temporal extents; (5) the inference that microbial communities associated with serpentinite mud volcanism may also be exhumed from the subducted plate seafloor and/or seamounts; and (6) the implications for effects of these processes with regard to evolution of life. This article is part of a discussion meeting issue ‘Serpentine in the Earth system’.
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Patricia Fryer, C. Geoffrey Wheat, Trevor Williams, Christopher Kelley, Kevin Johnson, et al.. Mariana serpentinite mud volcanism exhumes subducted seamount materials: implications for the origin of life. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, Royal Society, The, 2020, 378 (2165), pp.20180425. ⟨10.1098/rsta.2018.0425⟩. ⟨hal-02447698⟩

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