Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 184–190 | Cite as

Development of an augen gneiss terrain

  • Scott B. Smithson
  • Donald J. Murphy
  • Robert S. Houston


Augen gneisses and related migmatites commonly form extensive areas in deep crystalline terrains and are interlayered with horizons of undoubted metasedimentary rocks. Augen gneiss, migmatite, and hornblende gneiss near McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, is interlayered with calcareous metasedimentary rocks on all scales and passes gradationally into quartzo-feldspathic gneiss. Numerous discontinuous lenses and layers of metasedimentary rocks in augen gneiss have been disrupted by transposition of layering and form tectonic inclusions. Calc-silicate layers have reacted with the surrounding rocks and become partially amphibolitized. Field evidence suggests that augen gneiss formed from quartzo-feldspathic gneiss by local metasomatism that accompanied strong deformation and smoothed out original metasedimentary differences. Locally partial melting took place. The final result is a sequence of augen gneiss, hornblende gneiss, and migmatite with thin amphibolite lenses and layers. The metasedimentary rocks are correlated with lower grade limestones and calcareous arenites including graywackes 125 km to the south. The quartzo-feldspathic gneiss would thus represent highly metamorphosed graywacke and sandstone. Augen gneiss and quartzo-feldspathic gneiss have similar chemical compositions, but augen gneiss seems to be somewhat more mafic. The composition of augen gneiss is more mafic than average continental shield surface rock and less mafic than the average crustal rock. Evidence indicates that augen gneiss and related rocks formed by homogenization of rocks that were originally sedimentary and its composition may reflect the bulk composition of material supplied to the crust earlier in the earth's history.


Sandstone Graywacke Metasedimentary Rock Surrounding Rock Arenite 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • Scott B. Smithson
    • 1
  • Donald J. Murphy
    • 1
  • Robert S. Houston
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeologyUniversity of WyomingLaramieUSA

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