DOI: 10.1029/2023gl107011 ISSN: 0094-8276

Carbon Storage in the Forearc Produced by Buoyant Diapirs of Subducted Sediment

Xinxin Wang, Liang Zhao, Jianfeng Yang, Zhengtang Guo
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • Geophysics


Carbonate sediments transported into the mantle at subduction zone settings account for the majority of the carbon flux into the Earth's interior and are thus critical to the deep carbon cycle. Understanding carbon storage volumes in the deep earth requires knowledge of the degree to which carbonate sediments are stored in the arc lithosphere or descend to the deep mantle. Here, we use petrological‐thermomechanical modeling to indicate that solid‐state diapirs dominate the removal of carbon from subducting plates, which may be the principal carbon‐release mechanism for the Cyclades (Greece) and Costa Rican forearcs. We find that forearc diapirs remove up to ∼80% of subducting carbon and develop diagonally upward, resulting in massive carbon storage in the subarc lithosphere. Outgassing from the carbon storage may cause high carbon outputs and explain volcanic gas with high δ13C at some subduction zones, affecting atmospheric CO2 concentration.

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