An Early Palaeozoic HP/HT Granulite–Garnet Peridotite Association in the South Altyn Tagh, NW China: P–T History and U-Pb Geochronology

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Geological Sciences

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High-pressure kyanite-bearing felsic granulites in the Bashiwake area of the south Altyn Tagh (SAT) subduction–collision complex enclose mafic granulites and garnet peridotite-hosted sapphirine-bearing metabasites. The predominant felsic granulites are garnet + quartz + ternary feldspar (now perthite) rocks containing kyanite, plagioclase, biotite, rutile, spinel, corundum, and minor zircon and apatite. The quartz-bearing mafic granulites contain a peak pressure assemblage of garnet + clinopyroxene + ternary feldspar (now mesoperthite) + quartz + rutile. The sapphirine-bearing metabasites occur as mafic layers in garnet peridotite. Petrographical data suggest a peak assemblage of garnet + clinopyroxene + kyanite + rutile. Early kyanite is inferred from a symplectite of sapphirine + corundum + plagioclase ± spinel, interpreted to have formed during decompression. Garnet peridotite contains an assemblage of garnet + olivine + orthopyroxene + clinopyroxene. Thermobarometry indicates that all rock types experienced peak P–T conditions of 18.5–27.3 kbar and 870–1050 °C. A medium–high pressure granulite facies overprint (780–820 °C, 9.5–12 kbar) is defined by the formation of secondary clinopyroxene ± orthopyroxene + plagioclase at the expense of garnet and early clinopyroxene in the mafic granulites, as well as by growth of spinel and plagioclase at the expense of garnet and kyanite in the felsic granulite. SHRIMP II zircon U-Pb geochronology yields ages of 493 ± 7 Ma (mean of 11) from the felsic granulite, 497 ± 11 Ma (mean of 11) from sapphirine-bearing metabasite and 501 ± 16 Ma (mean of 10) from garnet peridotite. Rounded zircon morphology, cathodoluminescence (CL) sector zoning, and inclusions of peak metamorphic minerals indicate these ages reflect HP/HT metamorphism. Similar ages determined for eclogites from the western segment of the SAT suggest that the same continental subduction/collision event may be responsible for HP metamorphism in both areas.


Journal Of Metamorphic Geology