Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 79, Issue 1, pp 28–36 | Cite as

Fluid inclusions as petrogenetic indicators in granulite xenoliths, Pali-Aike volcanic field, Chile

  • Jane Selverstone


Granulite xenoliths within alkali olivine basalts of the Pali-Aike volcanic field, southern Chile, contain the mineral assemblage orthopyroxene + clinopyroxene + plagioclase + olivine + green spinel. These granulites are thought to be accidental inclusions of the lower crust incorporated in the mantle-derived basalt during its rise to the surface. Symplectic intergrowths of pyroxene and spinel developed between olivine and plagioclase imply that the reaction olivine+plagioclase = Al-orthopyroxene + Al-clinopyroxene + spinel (1) occurred during subsolidus cooling and recrystallization of a gabbroic protolith of the granulites.

Examination of fluid inclusions in the granulites indicates the ubiquitous presence of an essentially pure CO2 fluid phase. Inclusions of three different parageneses have been recognized: Type I inclusions occur along exsolution lamellae in clinopyroxene and are thought to represent precipitation of structurally-bound C or CO2 during cooling of the gabbro. These are considered the most primary inclusions present. Type II inclusions occur as evenly distributed clusters not associated with any fractures. These inclusions probably represent entrapment of a free fluid phase during recrystallization of the host grains. IIa inclusions are found in granoblastic grains and have densities of 0.68–0.88 g/cm3. Higher density (ϱ=0.90–1.02 g/cm3) IIb inclusions occur only in symplectite phases. Secondary Type III CO2+glass inclusions with ϱ=0.47–0.78 g/cm3 occur along healed fractures where basalt has penetrated the xenoliths. Type III inclusions appear related to exsolution of CO2 from the host basalt during its ascent to the surface. These data suggest that CO2 is an important constituent of the lower crust under conditions of granulite facies metamorphism, indicated by Type I and II fluid inclusions, and of the mantle, as indicated by Type III inclusions.

Correlation of fluid inclusion densities with P-T conditions calculated from both two-pyroxene geothermometry and reation (1) indicate emplacement of a gabbroic pluton at 1,200–1,300° C, 4–6 kb; cooling was accompanied by a slight increase in pressure due to crustal thickening, and symplectite formation occurred at 850±35° C, 5–7 kb. Capture of the xenoliths by the basalt resulted in heating of the granulites, and CO2 from the basalt was continuously entrapped by the xenoliths over the range 1,000–1,200° C, 4–6 kb. Examination of fluid inclusions of different generations can thus be used in conjunction with other petrologic data to place tight constraints on the specific P-T path followed by the granulite suite, in addition to indicating the nature of the fluid phase present at depth.


Olivine Fluid Inclusion Crustal Thickening Exsolution Lamella Granulite Xenolith 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jane Selverstone
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geological SciencesUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA

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