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Two-stage garnet growth in coesite eclogite from the southeastern Papua New Guinea (U)HP terrane and its geodynamic significance


Mineral compositions and textures of Late Miocene coesite eclogite from Tomagabuna Island were investigated to constrain PT conditions during UHP metamorphism and subsequent exhumation. Two stages of garnet growth (core and rim), at eclogite-facies conditions, were documented. In addition to core garnet (I), peak assemblages include omphacite, coesite, phengite, and rutile. Rim garnet (II), amphibole, paragonite, plagioclase, quartz, and accessory biotite and spinel were formed after peak pressure conditions. Although a compositional gradient is present at the core–rim garnet interface, the garnet core has a relatively flat compositional profile, suggesting its crystallization in the coesite stability field. Together with minerals formed subsequent to peak pressure (UHP) conditions, the composition of the garnet rim indicates heating of the eclogite during its decompression into the amphibolite facies mineral stability field. Based on compositional zoning in garnet and application of diffusion modelling, we propose that eclogite-facies metamorphism of the mafic protolith and its host lithologies occurred at, or near, UHP conditions. The core garnet (I) formed at 650 °C at 8 Myr in the coesite stability field and was partially resorbed during the onset of exhumation. We infer that garnet rim growth at < 7.1 Ma occurred at PT conditions corresponding to the boundary between the eclogite and amphibolite facies fields. Diffusion modelling for the garnet core–rim boundary compositions suggests a transient heating event (0.3 Myr) occurred at 1.5 GPa that we infer resulted from heat transport within the Australian—Woodlark plate boundary zone as the coesite eclogite was exhumed. Results caution that apparent PT paths documented for many UHP terranes may not result from isothermal decompression corresponding to peak temperatures. Instead, paths may link PT points’ set during transient mineral growth events when the UHP rocks form within the subduction channel, and during subsequent heating events, when UHP rocks are exhumed from mantle depths.

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This work was supported by financial support of Czech Grant Agency (Project 18-03160S) and the Thonis endowment to SLB. Constructive reviews by Francesco Giuntoli and an anonymous reviewer, and editorial handlings by Daniela Rubatto have significantly improved this manuscript.

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Faryad, S.W., Baldwin, S.L., Jedlicka, R. et al. Two-stage garnet growth in coesite eclogite from the southeastern Papua New Guinea (U)HP terrane and its geodynamic significance. Contrib Mineral Petrol 174, 73 (2019).

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  • Eclogite
  • Garnet zoning
  • High-temperature overprint