, Volume 87, Issue 2, pp 179-195

Chemical differentiation of the Cordillera Paine granite (southern Chile) by in situ fractional crystallization

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Geochemical and field data for the Cordillera Paine (CP) pluton of southern Chile, indicate that differentiation took place by closed system in situ fractional crystallization. Minor, local and irregular separation of liquids from crystals led to the formation of evolved granites and aplites which are encountered mostly at the plutons roof and margins.

Chemical trends show strong depletions of Sr, Ba, Mg less intense depletions of Ca, La, Ce, Nd, Fe, Ti, Al and enrichment of Nb, Y, Th, Rb and Si with differentiation. Pronounced crystal zoning of Ca, Sr and Ba in plagioclase, Ba in orthoclase and LREE, Y and Th in allanite closely correspond to the whole rock chemical variation. The crystal zoning data suggest that surface equilibrium only was maintained for the zoned elements during crystallization. Thus, continuous separation of liquids from crystals was not necessary to generate the kind highly evolved differentiates whose character reflects fractional crystallization. The schedule of liquid-crystal separation affects mainly the location, degree of dispersion and relative abundance of the differentiates.

The homogeneity of the CP pluton and the intense crystal zoning suggest that crystal-liquid separation was inefficient, and that whole rock compositions approach liquid compositions. Assumption of a closed system during crystallization allows estimation of mineral/melt partition coefficients (K d s) using crystal core and whole rock compositions. Crystal zoning and whole rock chemical trends are consistent with models constructed using the K d s thus obtained along with modal abundances from petrographic estimates.

Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory Contribution Number 3701