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Unravelling the complexities in high-grade rocks using multiple techniques: the Achankovil Zone of southern India


The Achankovil Zone of southern India forms a distinct isotopic and structural boundary separating the Madurai Block to the north from the Trivandrum Block to the south. We combine isotopic and trace element geochemistry of major and accessory phases with phase equilibria modelling to provide quantitative constraints on the timing and conditions of peak metamorphism and the nature of the protoliths within the Achankovil Zone. The results suggest a clockwise pressure–temperature path with peak metamorphic temperatures of up to 950 °C at pressures of around 0.7 GPa followed by high-temperature decompression. The metamorphic peak occurred at 545–512 Ma. U–Pb and Hf isotopic analysis of detrital zircon shows that the rocks have a strong affinity with the southern part of the Madurai Block. The Achankovil Zone is interpreted as the reworked southern margin of the Madurai Block, which was metamorphosed during the final stages of the assembly of Gondwana.

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Zircon and monazite U–Pb analyses were carried out using the SHRIMP II ion microprobe at the John de Laeter Centre for Isotope Research, Perth, managed by Allen Kennedy. REE analyses were carried out at the LA-ICPMS Facility at the Department of Applied Geology at Curtin University. We also acknowledge the facilities and scientific and technical assistance of the Centre for Materials Research at Curtin University. We would also like to thank Jochen Hoefs for editorial handing, along with Simon Harley, Leo Kriegsman and one anonymous reviewer for comments that greatly improved the original manuscript. R. Taylor acknowledges salary support through a Curtin University strategic research grant to C. Clark who is supported by an Australian Research Council DECRA (DE120103067) Project, with additional project funding through the DIISR Australia–India Strategic Fund Project ST030046. ASC acknowledges support from the ARC through FT120100340, and his contribution forms TRaX record 345. This is a contribution to International Geoscience Programme (IGCP) Project 628.

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Taylor, R.J.M., Clark, C., Johnson, T.E. et al. Unravelling the complexities in high-grade rocks using multiple techniques: the Achankovil Zone of southern India. Contrib Mineral Petrol 169, 51 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00410-015-1147-2

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  • Phase equilibria modelling
  • Zircon geochronology
  • Metamorphism
  • Achankovil Zone
  • Gondwana