Skip to main content

Volume 54 Supplement 11

Special Issue: Slip and Flow Processes in and below the Seismogenic Region

  • Article
  • Published:

Water-rock interaction observed in the brittle-plastic transition zone


Rock alteration and geochemistry of the fault rocks are examined to infer the characteristics of the fluid phase related to the ancient fault activity. The Hatagawa Fault Zone, northeast Japan, is an exhumed seismogenic zone which is characterized by close association of brittlely and plastically deformed fault rocks mostly derived from Cretaceous granitoids. Epidote and chlorite are dominant alteration minerals in both rocks. However, calcite is characteristically developed in the cataclastic part only. Decrease in oxygen isotope ratio and existence of epidote and chlorite, even in weakly deformed granodiorite, is evidence of water-rock interaction. The water/rock ratio is interpreted to be relatively small and fluid chemistry is buffered by host rock chemistry in the mylonite. The occurrence of calcite in brittle structures is explained by changes in water chemistry during shear zone evolution. CO2-rich fluid was probably introduced during cataclastic deformation and increased CO2 concentration resulted in precipitation of calcite.


  • Boullier, A. M., T. Ohtani, K. Fujimoto, H. Ito, and M. Dubois, Fluid inclusions in pseudotachylytes from the Nojima fault, Japan, J. Geophys. Res., 106, 21965–21978, 2001.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Brown, P. E., Fluid inclusion modeling for hydrothermal systems, Reviews in Economic Geology, 10, 151–171, 1998.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hickman, S., R. Sibson, and R. Bruhn, Introduction to special section: Mechanical involvement of fluids in faulting, J. Geophys. Res., 100, 12831–12840, 1995.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Johnson, J. W., E. H. Oelkers, and H. C. Helgeson, SUPCRT92: A software package for calculating the standard molal thermodynamic properties of minerals, gases, aqueous species, and reactions from 1 to 5000 bar and 0 to 1000°C, Computers and Geosciences, 18, 899–947, 1992.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kubo, K. and H. Takagi, New finding of pseudotachylyte from the Abukuma Granites on the west of Hatagawa Fracture Zone, J. Geol. Soc. Japan, 103, 798–801, 1997 (in Japanese with English Abstract).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kubo, K., Y. Yanagisawa, T. Yoshioka, T. Yamamoto, and F. Takizawa, Geology of the Haramachi and Omika District. With Geological Sheet Map at, 1:50000, Geological Survey of Japan, pp. 155, 1990 (in Japanese with English abstract).

  • Mackwell, S. J., D. L. Koldstedt, and M. S. Paterson, The role of water in the deformation of olivine single crystals, J. Geophys. Res., 90, 11319–11333, 1985.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nakashima, S., S. De Meer, C. J. Spiers, V. Famin, and T. Hirono, Physicochemical properties of water in grain boundaries—“Hard” water in the deep crust and the origin of earthquake?—, Proc. Intl. Symp. on flow and slip processes in and below the seismogenic region, 181–188, 2001.

  • Reed, M. H., Hydrothermal alteration and its relationship to ore fluid composition, in Geochemistry of Hydrothermal Ore Deposits (3rd ed.), edited by H. L. Barnes, pp. 303–366, John Wiley and Sons, New York, 1997.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sakai, H. and Y. Matsuhisa, Stable Isotope Geochemistry, pp. 403, University of Tokyo Press, Tokyo, 1996 (in Japanese).

    Google Scholar 

  • Scholz, C. H., The brittle-plastic transition and the depth of seismic faulting, Geologiche Rundschau, 77, 319–328, 1988.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shigematsu, N., Dynamic recrystallization in deformed plagioclase during progressive shear deformation, Tectonophys., 305, 437–452, 1999.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shigematsu, N. and H. Tanaka, Dislocation creep of fine grained recrystallized plagioclase under low temperature conditions, J. Struct. Geol., 22, 65–79, 2000.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shigematsu, N. and H. Yamagishi, Quartz microstructures and deformation condition in the eastern Hatagawa shear zone, NE Japan, The Island Arc, 11, 45–61, 2002.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shigematsu, N., K. Fujimoto, T. Ohtani, and K. Goto, Ductile fracture as a mechanism of earthquake source nucleation in the brittle-plastic transition regime, J. Geophys. Res. (submitted).

  • Stünitz, H. and J. D. FitzGerald, Deformation of granitoids at low metamorphic grade. II: granular flow in albite-rich mylonites, Tectonophys., 221, 299–324, 1993.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Takagi, H., K. Goto, and N. Shigematsu, Ultramylonite bands derived from cataclasite and pseudotachylyte in granites, northeast Japan, J. Struct. Geol., 22, 1325–1339, 2000.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tanaka, H., B. Shibazaki, N. Shigematsu, K. Fujimoto, T. Ohtani, Y. Miyashita, T. Tomita, K. Omura, Y. Kobayashi, and J. Kameda, Growth of plastic shear zone and its duration inferred from theoretical consideration and observation of an ancient shear zone in the granitic crust, Earth Planets Space, 54, this volume, 1207–1210, 2002.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tomita, T., T. Ohtani, N. Shigematsu, H. Tanaka, K. Fujimoto, Y. Kobayashi, Y. Miyashita, and K. Omura, Development of the Hatagawa Fault Zone clarified by geological and geochronological studies, Earth Planets Space, 54, this volume, 1095–1102, 2002.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tsurumi, J., H. Hosonuma, and K. Kanagawa, Strain localization due to a positive feedback of deformation and myrmekite-forming reaction in granite and aplite mylonite along the Hatagawa Shear Zone of NE Japan, J. Struct. Geol. (in press).

  • Watanabe, I., Y. Sotozaki, and M. Gorai, Geology of the north-eastern border district of northern Abukuma plateau. Science Report of the Tokyo Education University, 2, 69–78, 1953 (in Japanese with English abstract).

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Koichiro Fujimoto.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Fujimoto, K., Ohtani, T., Shigematsu, N. et al. Water-rock interaction observed in the brittle-plastic transition zone. Earth Planet Sp 54, 1127–1132 (2002).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: