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Fluids in deeply subducted continental crust: Petrology, mineral chemistry and fluid inclusion of UHP metamorphic veins from the Sulu orogen, eastern China

Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2008.04.014
  • Chemistry


Abstract The complex vein associations hosted in southern Sulu ultrahigh-pressure (UHP) eclogites contain quartz ± omphacite (or jadeite) ± kyanite ± allanite ± zoisite ± rutile ± garnet. These minerals have chemical compositions similar to those of host eclogites. Inclusions of polycrystalline quartz pseudomorphs after coesite were identified in vein allanite and garnet, and coesite inclusions were found in vein zircon. These facts suggest that the veins together with host eclogites have been subjected to synchronous UHP metamorphism. The vein minerals contain relatively high concentrations of rare earth elements (REE), high-field-strength elements (HFSE) and transition metal elements (TME). A kyanite–quartz vein has a whole-rock composition similar to adjacent UHP metamorphic granitic gneisses. Abundant primary multi-solid fluid inclusions trapped within UHP vein minerals contain complex daughter minerals of muscovite, calcite, anhydrite, magnetite, pyrite, apatite, celestite and liquid and gas phase of H 2O with solids up to 30–70% of the inclusion volume. The presence of daughter minerals anhydrite and magnetite indicates the subduction fluids were oxidizing, and provides a possible interpretation for the high oxygen fugacity of subduction zone magmas. These characteristics imply that the UHP vein minerals were crystallized from supercritical silicate-rich aqueous fluids that were in equilibrium with peak-UHP minerals, and that the fluids in deeply subducted continental crust may contain very high concentrations of silicate as well as HREE, HFSE and TME. Such fluids might have resulted in major fractionation between Nb and Ta, i.e. the UHP fluids have subchondritic Nb/Ta values, whereas the host eclogites after extraction of the fluids have suprachondritic Nb/Ta values. Therefore, voluminous residual eclogites with high Nb/Ta ratios may be the complementary suprachondritic reservoir capable of balancing the subchondritic depleted mantle and continental crust reservoirs.

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