Serpentinization is a widespread process that affects large-scale geodynamic processes along plate boundaries, including continental breakup, seafloor spreading, and subduction. Documenting the timing of serpentinization is critical for our understanding of these processes, but direct dating of serpentinites has been challenging or impossible. We present the first application of magnetite (U-Th)/He chronometry to date stages of alteration and cooling in ultramafic rocks. In order to demonstrate the viability of magnetite He dating in these lithologies, magnetite ages were obtained from two ultramafic lithologies of the Kampos mélange belt, a high-pressure–low-temperature subduction complex on the island of Syros, Greece. Magnetite (U-Th)/He measurements of internal fragments from large grains within a chlorite schist and a serpentinite record Miocene exhumation-related cooling ages, whereas smaller grains from the serpentinite record mineral growth associated with hydrothermal fluid flow along Pliocene normal faults. These age results with magnetite trace element geochemistry reveal evidence for multiple episodes of fluid-rock alteration, which has implications for the cooling history and local geochemical exchanges of this high-pressure–low-temperature terrane. This method provides a new tool that may be expanded to investigate the processes and time scales of serpentinization from a variety of tectonic settings.
- Received 2 May 2016.
- Revision received 9 September 2016.
- Accepted 11 September 2016.
- © 2016 Geological Society of America