The effects of the spinel-garnet phase transition on the formation of rifted sedimentary basins

Tadashi Yamasaki, Masao Nakada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


We have examined the effects of the spinel-garnet phase transition on subsidence of extensional sedimentary basins. For a constant positive Clapeyron slope (dP/dT), the phase boundary moves downwards in the syn-rift and upwards in the post-rift phase. For a non-linear Clapeyron curve (dP/dT>0 above 900°C and dP/dT<0 below 900°C), theory predicts for the reaction of the spinel-garnet phase transition, the direction of phase boundary movement is dependent on the stretching factor, the position of the Clapeyron curve and the lithospheric thickness. A smaller syn-rift and larger post-rift subsidence are predicted for a deeper phase boundary and a thicker lithosphere. The model with a non-linear Clapeyron curve is applied to the subsidence histories of a young extensional basin (Gulf of Lion) and an old continental margin (eastern Canada). The observed syn-rift uplift and the larger post-rift subsidence can be reasonably explained by this model, where the optimum depth of the phase boundary for eastern Canada (∼90 km) is consistent with the estimate from seismic observations and is larger than that for the Gulf of Lion (∼50 km). The depth of the spinel-garnet phase boundary is sensitive to the composition of mantle rocks and increases with the extraction of basaltic components from the lithosphere, compatible with our result that the phase boundary is deeper for an older and thicker lithosphere. Thus the surface movement associated with the rifting for these areas may reflect the chemical evolution of the continental lithosphere.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)681-692
Number of pages12
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


Dive into the research topics of 'The effects of the spinel-garnet phase transition on the formation of rifted sedimentary basins'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this