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Constraints on the origin of Archean trondhjemites based on phase relationships of Nûk gneiss with H2O at 15 kbar

Abstract

We report the T-X(H2O) phase relations for the trondhjemitic Nûk gneiss which comprises the principal component of the second phase of Archean (3.0–2.8 by) igneous activity in the Godthåb region of southwestern Greenland. A pressure of 15 kbar was chosen to place constraints on possible protoliths for trondhjemitic melts at lower crustal depths. Under H2O-saturated conditions, a melting interval of ∼135° C separates the solidus at ∼610° C from the liquidus at 745° C. H2O-saturation at 15 kbar occurs at approximately 15.5 wt % H2O. The H2O-undersaturated liquidus extends along a curved path from ∼745° C at 15.5 wt % H2O to ∼1100° C at 2% H2O. Lower H2O contents were not investigated. At low H2O contents (<6%) sodic plagioclase (Pl, An32) is the liquidus phase followed at lower but still near-liquidus temperatures by quartz (Qz) and then garnet (Ga). At 6% H2O, Ga replaces Pl on the liquidus and is joined at slightly lower temperatures by Pl and hornblende (Hb). The field for liquidus Ga extends to only ∼7.5% H2O where it is replaced by Hb which is the liquidus phase up to 13% H2O. At all higher H2O contents, epidote (Ep) is the first phase to crystallize, followed by biotite (Bi) at slightly lower temperatures. Following the standard inverse approach, the near-liquidus phase assemblages are interpreted as potential residues from which trondhjemitic melts could be extracted. At high melt H2O contents (>7%), mafic residues consisting of some combination of Hb, Ga, Ep, and Bi are possible and could correspond to amphibolitic source rocks. At lower melt H2O contents (< 5%), possible residues consist of Na-Pl+Qz±Ga and could correspond to an earlier generation of tonalitic-trondhjemitic rocks. However, such residues would not impart the highly fractionated REE patterns characteristic of Archean trondhjemites. If a first generation of tonalitic-trondhjemitic melts was generated by higher pressure partial fusion of eclogite and emplaced at 55 km depth, it would crystallize to an assemblage consisting almost entirely of Na-Pl+Qz with highly fractionated REE patterns. These rocks in turn could be partially melted to yield a second generation of trondhjemites which would inherit the highly fractionated REE patterns because neigher Pl nor Qz is capable of significantly fractionating HREE from LREE.

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Johnston, A.D., Wyllie, P.J. Constraints on the origin of Archean trondhjemites based on phase relationships of Nûk gneiss with H2O at 15 kbar. Contr. Mineral. and Petrol. 100, 35–46 (1988). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00399438

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00399438

Keywords

  • Source Rock
  • Phase Assemblage
  • Igneous Activity
  • Partial Fusion
  • Inverse Approach