Geological Society of London
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Linking growth episodes of zircon and metamorphic textures to zircon chemistry: an example from the ultrahigh-temperature granulites of Rogaland (SW Norway)

posted on 2016-06-21, 11:57 authored by Andreas Möller, Patrick J. O’Brien, Allen Kennedy, Alfred Kröner

In-situ U-Th-Pb analyses by ion-microprobe on zircon in intact textural relationships are combined with backscatter and cathodoluminescence imaging and trace element analyses to provide evidence for growth episodes of zircon. This approach helps: (a) to unravel the polymetamorphic history of aluminous migmatitic and granitoid gneisses of the regional contact aureole around the Rogaland anorthosite-norite intrusive complex; and (b) to constrain the age of M2 ultrahigh-temperature (UHT) metamorphism and the subsequent retrograde M3 event. All samples yield magmatic inherited zircon of c. 1035 Ma, some an additional group at c. 1050 Ma. This suggests that loss of Pb by volume diffusion in non-metamict zircon is not an important factor even under extreme crustal conditions. Furthermore, the identical inheritance patterns in aluminous (garnet, cordierite ± osumilite-bearing) migmatites and orthogneisses indicate a metasomatic igneous instead of a sedimentary protolith for the migmatite. Results for the M1 metamorphic event at c. 1000 Ma BP are consistent in all samples, including those from outside the orthopyroxene-in isograd. The latter do not show evidence for zircon growth during the M2 metamorphic episode.

Zircon intergrown with or included within M2 metamorphic minerals (magnetite, spinel, orthopyroxene) give an age of 927 ± 7 Ma (2σ, n = 20). The youngest observed results are found in zircon outside M2 minerals, some overgrown by M3 mineral assemblages (late garnet coronas, garnet + quartz and orthopyroxene + garnet symplectites) and yield a slightly younger pooled age of 908 ± 9 Ma (2σ, n = 6). These textures are relative time markers for the crystallization of zircon overgrowths during discrete stages of the UHT event. These youngest age groups are consistent with the emplacement age of the Rogaland intrusive complex and the last magmatic activity (Tellnes dyke intrusion), respectively. This is direct and conclusive evidence for UHT metamorphism in the regional aureole being caused by the intrusions, and corrects earlier notions that the events are not linked. Trace element behaviour of zircon (Tb/U and Y content) has been tracked through time in the samples and shows variations both within and between samples. This heterogeneous behaviour at all scales appears to be common in metamorphic rocks and precludes the use of ‘rules of thumb’ in the interpretation of zircon chemistry, but chemical tracers are useful for recognition of zircon growth or recrystallization during metamorphism.