New electron backscatter diffraction measurements show that the Papua New Guinea (PNG) ultrahigh‐pressure (UHP) terrane is dominated by rocks with weakly oriented quartz and feldspar and less abundant strongly oriented hornblende, clinopyroxene, and mica. Velocities measured at high pressures (600 MPa) show that VP is 5.8–6.3 km/s for gneiss samples, 6.5–7.7 km/s for amphibolite, and 7.7–8.2 km/s for eclogite and VS is 3.4–3.9 km/s for gneiss, 4.0–4.4 km/s for amphibolite, and 4.5–4.6 km/s for eclogite. Velocities and anisotropies calculated from mineral crystal preferred orientations (CPOs) are equivalent to within 5% of the measured values. The highest seismic anisotropy for the PNG terrane is in amphibolite at 8% and 7% for VP and VS, respectively. Calculations of seismic velocities at depth based on predicted mineral assemblages indicate that the exhuming UHP terrane is of dominantly mafic composition below ∼20 km depth. Anisotropy in the PNG terrane is expected to be quite low and is controlled by the orientation of the foliation. If observable, changes in anisotropy across the exhuming body may be used to differentiate among the different proposed mechanisms of UHP exhumation.
Geochemistry | Geology | Geophysics and Seismology
Brownlee, S. J., B. R. Hacker, M. Salisbury, G. Seward, T. A. Little, S. L. Baldwin, and G. A. Abers (2011), Predicted velocity and density structure of the exhuming Papua New Guinea ultrahigh‐pressure terrane, J. Geophys. Res., 116, B08206, doi:10.1029/2011JB008195.