Origin of peraluminous minerals (corundum, spinel, and sapphirine) in a highly calcic anorthosite from the Sittampundi Layered Complex, Tamil Nadu, India

  • Shreya KarmakarEmail author
  • Subham Mukherjee
  • Sanjoy Sanyal
  • Pulak Sengupta
Original Paper


The highly calcic anorthosite (An>95) from the Sittampundi Layered Complex (SLC) develops corundum, spinel and sapphirine that are hitherto not reported from any anorthositic rocks in the world. Petrological observations indicate the following sequence of mineral growth: plagioclasematrix → corundum; clinopyroxene → amphibole; corundum + amphibole → plagioclasecorona + spinel; and spinel + corundum → coronitic sapphirine. Phase relations in the CaO–Na2O–Al2O3–SiO2–H2O (CNASH) system suggest that corundum was presumably developed through vapour present incongruent melting of the highly calcic plagioclase during ultra-high temperature (UHT) metamorphism (T ≥ 1000 °C, P ≥ 9 kbar). Topological constraints in parts of the Na2O–CaO–MgO–Al2O3–SiO2–H2O (NCMASH) system suggest that subsequent to the UHT metamorphism, aqueous fluid(s) permeated the rock and the assemblage corundum + amphibole + anorthite + clinozoisite was stabilized during high-pressure (HP) metamorphism (11 ± 2 kbar, 750 ± 50 °C). Constraints of the NCMASH topology and thermodynamic and textural modeling study suggest that coronitic plagioclase and spinel formed at the expense of corundum + amphibole during a steeply decompressive retrograde PT path (7–8 kbar and 700–800 °C) in an open system. Textural modeling studies combined with chemical potential diagrams (μSiO2–μMgO) in the MASH system support the view that sapphirine also formed from due to silica and Mg metasomatism of the precursor spinel ± corundum, on the steeply decompressive retrograde PT path, prior to onset of significant cooling of the SLC. Extremely channelized fluid flow and large positive solid volume change of the stoichiometrically balanced sapphirine forming reaction explains the localized growth of sapphirine.


Metasomatic sapphirine Anatectic corundum Chemical potential Calcic anorthosite Sittampundi Layered Complex 



S.K. and S.M. acknowledge the financial support from the University Grant Commission (UGC), New Delhi. S.S. and P.S. acknowledge that the grants received from the programs awarded to the Department of Geological Sciences, Jadavpur University: Potential for Excellence (UPE-Phase II) from UGC, Center of Advance Studies (Phase VI), and Fund for the Improvement of Science and Technology (FIST-Phase II) from DST (Department of Science and Technology, India). Most of the analyses were done during the stay of P.S. at the Steinmann Institute, University of Bonn, Germany, as a fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The authors are thankful to Prof. M. Raith, University of Bonn for extending the analytical facilities of the institute. The authors are deeply grateful to Prof. James Connolly, Department of Earth Sciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, for his help with numerical modeling and also for rendering his opinion on number of issues related to phase diagram calculations. The authors are very thankful to Prof. Kåre Kullerud, a second anonymous reviewer and the editor Prof. Christian Ballhaus for their detail insightful comments, which have helped to improve the quality of the manuscript significantly.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shreya Karmakar
    • 1
    Email author
  • Subham Mukherjee
    • 1
  • Sanjoy Sanyal
    • 1
  • Pulak Sengupta
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geological SciencesJadavpur UniversityKolkataIndia

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