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Partial Melting of Carbonate–Biotite Gneiss at the Conditions of the Continental Crust: Experimental and Thermodynamic Modeling

Abstract

One of the mechanisms explaining relationships between CO2-rich fluids and granitoid magmas at high-temperature crustal metamorphism is the melting of protoliths that originally contained carbonate minerals. In order to study the coupled processes of dehydration/decarbonation and melting, experiments were conducted with carbonate–biotite gneiss from an Archean greenstone belt at pressures of 6, 10, and 15 kbar in the temperature range of 800–950°C, and phase relations in this rock were modeled using the pseudo-section method. The experiments and modeling revealed a subvertical positive dP/dT slope of the solidus of the rock. In comparison to the calculated solidus temperatures, the experiments showed higher melting temperatures (~800°C at 6 kbar and ~850°C at 10 and 15 kbar). The products of the experiments at pressures of 6 and 10 kbar and temperatures >850°C were found out to contain assemblages of clinopyroxene, orthopyroxene, and ilmenite. The products of the experiments at 15 kbar did not contain either orthopyroxene or ilmenite, but calcium garnet and rutile were stable. The first portions of the near-solidus melts at 6 and 10 kbar were poor in SiO2 (44–50 wt %) and were formed because carbonate phases were involved in the melting reactions. With a temperature increase, the melts acquired a granite composition that was close to the composition of melts formed during the melting of the carbonate-free plagioclase + biotite + quartz assemblage. An aqueous–carbonic fluid containing Ca–Mg–Fe carbonate components coexisted with the melts. The phase assemblages and compositions of the granite melts obtained in the experiments are consistent with the modeling results. Comparison of the experimental results with published data on the partial melting of the carbonate-free plagioclase + biotite + quartz assemblages led us to the preliminary conclusion that Ca–Mg–Fe carbonates are able to decrease the melting temperature. The experiments have demonstrated that granite magmas can be derived together with aqueous–carbonic fluids from a carbonate-bearing protolith during high-grade metamorphism in the middle and lower crust. The occurrence of clinopyroxene or two-pyroxene assemblages in granitoids can be considered as a mineralogical indicator of this process.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The authors thank A.L Perchuk (Geological Faculty, Moscow State University) for constructive criticism of the initial version of the manuscripts and suggestions for its improvement.

Funding

This study was supported by Russian Foundation for Basic Research, project no. 20-35-90013 for postgraduate students and by the Russian Science Foundation, project 18-17-00206-P (part of this research concerning relations between granite magmatism and the evolution of Precambrian granulite complexes) and was partly carried under the government-financed research projects FMUF-2022-0004; 1021051302305-5-1.5.2;1.5.4 for Korzhinskii Institute of Experimental Mineralogy, Russian Academy of Science.

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Correspondence to A. S. Mityaev.

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Translated by E. Kurdyukov

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Mityaev, A.S., Safonov, O.G., Varlamov, D.A. et al. Partial Melting of Carbonate–Biotite Gneiss at the Conditions of the Continental Crust: Experimental and Thermodynamic Modeling. Petrology 30, 278–304 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1134/S0869591122030067

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1134/S0869591122030067

Keywords:

  • metamorphism
  • granitoid melts
  • aqueous–carbonic fluids
  • carbonate-bearing rocks
  • fluid–mineral reactions
  • experiment
  • thermodynamic modeling