Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 145, Issue 2, pp 228–250 | Cite as

Prograde destruction and formation of monazite and allanite during contact and regional metamorphism of pelites: petrology and geochronology

  • Boswell A. WingEmail author
  • John M. Ferry
  • T. Mark Harrison
Original Paper


The conditions at which monazite and allanite were produced and destroyed during prograde metamorphism of pelitic rocks were determined in a Buchan and a Barrovian regional terrain and in a contact aureole, all from northern New England, USA. Pelites from the chlorite zone of each area contain monazite that has an inclusion-free core surrounded by a highly irregular, inclusion-rich rim. Textures and 208Pb/232Th dates of these monazites in the Buchan terrain, obtained by ion microprobe, suggest that they are composite grains with detrital cores and very low-grade metamorphic overgrowths. At exactly the biotite isograd in the regional terrains, composite monazite disappears from most rocks and is replaced by euhedral metamorphic allanite. At precisely the andalusite or kyanite isograd in all three areas, allanite, in turn, disappears from most rocks and is replaced by subhedral, chemically unzoned monazite neoblasts. Allanite failed to develop at the biotite isograd in pelites with lower than normal Ca and/or Al contents, and composite monazite survived at higher grades in these rocks with modified texture, chemical composition, and Th–Pb age. Pelites with elevated Ca and/or Al contents retained allanite in the andalusite or kyanite zone. The best estimate of the time of peak metamorphism at the andalusite or kyanite isograd is the mean Th–Pb age of metamorphic monazite neoblasts that have not been affected by retrograde metamorphism: 364.3±3.5 Ma in the Buchan terrain, 352.9±8.9 Ma in the Barrovian terrain, and 403.4±5.9 Ma in the contact aureole. Some metamorphic monazites from the Buchan terrain have ages partially to completely reset during an episode of retrograde metamorphism at 343.1±9.1 Ma. Interpretation of Th–Pb ages of individual composite monazite grains is complicated by the occurrence of subgrain domains of detrital material intergrown with domains of material formed or recrystallized during prograde and retrograde metamorphism.


Regional Metamorphism Andalusite Peak Metamorphism Contact Aureole Retrograde Metamorphism 
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.



J.M.F. and B.A.W. thank Liz Catlos and especially Chris Coath for instructing us in the use of the UCLA ion microprobe and assisting with the interpretation of results. Ken Livi designed the protocol for electron microprobe analysis of monazites and allanites. We benefited from discussions of ion microprobe analysis, age relations in northern New England, and closure temperature in monazite with Jack Cheney, Chris Hepburn, Frank Spear, Bob Tucker, and Bruce Watson. We thank David Hawkins and Frank Spear for thorough and thoughtful critical reviews. Research supported by grant EAR-9805346 from the Division of Earth Sciences, National Science Foundation. The ion microprobe facility at UCLA is partly supported by a grant from the Instrumentation and Facilities Program, Division of Earth Sciences, National Science Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Boswell A. Wing
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  • John M. Ferry
    • 2
  • T. Mark Harrison
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Earth and Planetary SciencesJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of Earth and Planetary SciencesJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Research School of Earth SciencesThe Australian National UniversityCanberra Australia
  4. 4.Earth System Science Interdisciplinary CenterUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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