The higher grade metamorphic zonation of the Sambagawa metamorphic belt in central Shikoku, Japan



The higher grade metamorphic zonation of the Sambagawa (= Sanbagawa) belt is established for the first time for the whole area of central Shikoku. As discontinuous reactions to define the isograd are absent, the metamorphic grade is primarily determined by the Mg-Fe partitioning between garnet and chlorite along representative traverses. However, for regional mapping, mineralogical features of the pelitic schists, such as using mineral assemblages of more than divariant equilibrium, the modal garnet to chlorite ratio, and the optical properties of chlorite, are employed as auxiliary criteria.

The presence of the highest grade mineral zone in the middle of the structural level is confirmed, but its spatial distribution is far more complex than hitherto accepted. Thermal axes are now confirmed at three different structural levels. A model is presented in which the stacking of thrust sheets of different grade took place while metamorphic reactions were in progress. Thermal readjustment brought a continuous metamorphic temperature gradient across and within the thrust sheets. Tectonic blocks of metagabbro and ultramafic rock were emplaced synchronously with thinning and subsequently also re-equilibrated. Local anomalies of metamorphic grade, represented by mixing of schists of different metamorphic grade, exist, but they are due to a later stage event.