Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 95, Issue 4, pp 407–419 | Cite as

A-type granites: geochemical characteristics, discrimination and petrogenesis

  • Joseph B. Whalen
  • Kenneth L. Currie
  • Bruce W. Chappell


New analyses of 131 samples of A-type (alkaline or anorogenic) granites substantiate previously recognized chemical features, namely high SiO2, Na2O+K2O, Fe/Mg, Ga/Al, Zr, Nb, Ga, Y and Ce, and low CaO and Sr. Good discrimination can be obtained between A-type granites and most orogenic granites (M-, I and S-types) on plots employing Ga/Al, various major element ratios and Y, Ce, Nb and Zr. These discrimination diagrams are thought to be relatively insensitive to moderate degrees of alteration. A-type granites generally do not exhibit evidence of being strongly differentiated, and within individual suites can show a transition from strongly alkaline varieties toward subalkaline compositions. Highly fractionated, felsic I- and S-type granites can have Ga/Al ratios and some major and trace element values which overlap those of typical A-type granites.

A-type granites probably result mainly from partial melting of F and/or Cl enriched dry, granulitic residue remaining in the lower crust after extraction of an orogenic granite. Such melts are only moderately and locally modified by metasomatism or crystal fractionation. A-type melts occurred world-wide throughout geological time in a variety of tectonic settings and do not necessarily indicate an anorogenic or rifting environment.


Partial Melting Na2O Lower Crust Tectonic Setting Geochemical Characteristic 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph B. Whalen
    • 1
  • Kenneth L. Currie
    • 1
  • Bruce W. Chappell
    • 2
  1. 1.Geological Survey of CanadaOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Department of GeologyThe Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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