Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 165, Issue 5, pp 981–1008 | Cite as

Major and trace-element composition and pressure–temperature evolution of rock-buffered fluids in low-grade accretionary-wedge metasediments, Central Alps

  • George D. Miron
  • Thomas Wagner
  • Markus Wälle
  • Christoph A. Heinrich
Original Paper


The chemical composition of fluid inclusions in quartz crystals from Alpine fissure veins was determined by combination of microthermometry, Raman spectroscopy, and LA-ICPMS analysis. The veins are hosted in carbonate-bearing, organic-rich, low-grade metamorphic metapelites of the Bündnerschiefer of the eastern Central Alps (Switzerland). This strongly deformed tectonic unit is interpreted as a partly subducted accretionary wedge, on the basis of widespread carpholite assemblages that were later overprinted by lower greenschist facies metamorphism. Veins and their host rocks from two locations were studied to compare several indicators for the conditions during metamorphism, including illite crystallinity, graphite thermometry, stability of mineral assemblages, chlorite thermometry, fluid inclusion solute thermometry, and fluid inclusion isochores. Fluid inclusions are aqueous two-phase with 3.7–4.0 wt% equivalent NaCl at Thusis and 1.6–1.7 wt% at Schiers. Reproducible concentrations of Li, Na, K, Rb, Cs, Mg, Ca, Sr, Ba, B, Al, Mn, Cu, Zn, Pb, As, Sb, Cl, Br, and S could be determined for 97 fluid inclusion assemblages. Fluid and mineral geothermometry consistently indicate temperatures of 320 ± 20 °C for the host rocks at Thusis and of 250 ± 30 °C at Schiers. Combining fluid inclusion isochores with independent geothermometers results in pressure estimates of 2.8–3.8 kbar for Thusis, and of 3.3–3.4 kbar for Schiers. Pressure–temperature estimates are confirmed by pseudosection modeling. Fluid compositions and petrological modeling consistently demonstrate that chemical fluid-rock equilibrium was attained during vein formation, indicating that the fluids originated locally by metamorphic dehydration during near-isothermal decompression in a rock-buffered system.


Fluid inclusions LA-ICPMS Low-grade metamorphism Accretionary wedge Veins Fluid-rock equilibrium Graphitic metasediments 



Thierry Adatte and Hans-Rudolf Pfeifer are thanked for assistance with standardization of illite crystallinity measurements and giving us access to ferric/ferrous iron analysis at the Centre d’Analyse Minérale at the University of Lausanne. Lydia Zehnder (ETH Zurich) has helped with the XRD and XRF measurements and Thomas Good is thanked for making the fluid inclusion sections. Thanks are due to Michael Plötze for helping with the quantitative determination of the minerals by XRD, and to Mark Caddick for the introduction to Perplex. We thank Wilfried Winkler for insightful discussions about the regional geology of the study area and for helping with sample preparation for the illite crystallinity study. The fissure vein at Thusis was discovered by Michael Heinrich along with Phoebe Härtner and Dimitri Meier, who all contributed with observations about the three-dimensional geometry of the mineral occurrence. We also thank Jakob Schumacher and the Council of the village of Tschappina for logistical support with our field work. Constructive comments by Josef Mullis, Jaques Touret, and three anonymous reviewers are gratefully acknowledged.

Supplementary material

410_2012_844_MOESM1_ESM.xls (316 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLS 316 kb)
410_2012_844_MOESM2_ESM.xls (110 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (XLS 109 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • George D. Miron
    • 1
  • Thomas Wagner
    • 1
    • 2
  • Markus Wälle
    • 1
  • Christoph A. Heinrich
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Geochemistry and PetrologyETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of Geosciences and GeographyUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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