An extended episode of early Mesoproterozoic metamorphic fluid flow in the Reynolds Range, central Australia*


  • *

    This paper is a contribution to IGCP Programme 304 ‘Lower Crustal Processes‘.


ABSTRACT The products of metamorphic fluid flow are preserved in zones within the marbles and metamorphosed semipelites of the Upper Calcsilicate Unit in the granulite portion of the Late Palaeoproterozoic Reynolds Range Group, northern Arunta Block, central Australia. The zones of retrogression, characterized by minerals such as wollastonite, grossular and clinohumite, local resetting of oxygen isotopic compositions and local major element metasomatism, were channelways for water-rich fluids derived from granulite facies metapelites. U–Th–Pb isotopic ages measured by the SHRIMP ion microprobe on zircon and monazite from a granulite facies semipelite, an early semiconcordant aluminous quartz-rich fluid-flow segregation and a late discordant quartz-rich segregation record some of the extended thermal history of the area. Zircon cores from the semipelite show its likely protolith to be an igneous rock 1812 ± 11 Ma old, itself derived from a source containing zircon as old as 2.2 Ga. Low-Th/U overgrowths on the zircon grew during granulite facies metamorphism at 1594 ± 6 Ma. Monazite cooled to its blocking temperature at 1576 ± 8 Ma. Zircon cores from the semiconcordant segregation are dominantly >2.3 Ga old, indicating that the source of the fluids was not the particular metamorphosed semipelite studied. Two generations of low-Th/U overgrowths on the zircon give indistinguishable ages for the older and younger of 1589 ± 8 and 1582 ± 8 Ma, respectively. The monazite age is the same, 1576 ± 12 Ma. Zircon from the late discordant segregation gave 1568 ± 4 Ma. Fluid flow occurred for at least 18 ± 3 (σ) Ma and ended 26 ± 3 (σ) Ma after the peak of metamorphism, suggesting a very slow cooling rate of ∼3°C Ma–1. The last regional high-grade metamorphism in the Reynolds Range occurred at ∼1.6 Ga, not ∼1.78 Ga as previously thought. The high-grade event at ∼1.78 Ga is a separate event that affected only the basement to the Reynolds Range Group.