Kyanite formation and element fractionation in the high-al eclogites from the sulu UHP metamorphic terrane

Yung Hsin Liu, Huai Jen Yang, Jianxin Zhang, Yen Hong Shau, Mei Fei Chu, Yoshiyuki Iizuka, Shu Cheng Yu

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Eclogite compositions are critical parameters for understanding chemical evolution in the Earth, particularly in subduction zones. A group of eclogites from the Sulu ultra-high pressure (UHP) metamorphic terrane in eastern China shows uncommon petrographic and compositional features. They are characterized by (1) zoisite porphyroblasts coexisting with inclusion-free, inclusion-containing, and network kyanite, (2) high Al2O3 of 18.4 - 29.2% with high MgO of 8.59 - 11.3%, and (3) intensive HFSE-REE fractionations represented by [Zr/Sm]ch, and [Ti/Gd]ch ratios of 0.1 - 3.9 and 1.1 - 9.0, respectively. High-pressure fluids played a major role on developing these features. Kyanite shows two textural varieties. Kyi is inclusion-free and in apparent textural equilibrium with garnet and omphacite, implying formation from plagioclase breakdown. KyII includes kyanite networks and porphyroblasts; the former occurs mostly in garnet, whereas the latter encloses garnet and omphacite grains. KyII were crystallized at the expense of garnet and omphacite during eclogite-fluid interaction. The low [HREE]ch ratios of 1 - 2 indicate that the protoliths were arc cumulates. The well-defined inverse Al2O 3-SiO2 and Al2O3-CaO correlations are not the characteristics of igneous precursors; therefore, must reflect metamorphic modifications. The comparison to mafic cumulates shows that the low-Al samples are compositionally better representatives of protoliths. Mass balance calculations point to an olivine gabbronoritic protolith. The intensive HFSE-REE fractionations reflect compositional differences between two sample groups. Group I samples have superchondritic HFSE-REE ratios [(Nb/La, Zr/Sm, Ti/Gd)ch = 2-7] with depletions in LREE. In contrast, group II samples show HFSE depletions and LREE enrichments. These compositional differences were explained as reflecting element mobility during eclogite-fluid interaction. Released at temperatures > 750°C, the high-pressure fluids were enriched in HFSE, REE, and LILE. Upon migration, the fluids first precipitated HFSE into the group I samples, then, LILE and LREE into the group II samples. This model is supported by the occurrence of zoisite porphyroblasts in the group II samples, and interstitial zircon and clusters of small rutile grains along annealed fractures in the group I samples. Our interpretation for the observed compositional variations implies limited element mobility during subduction and exhumation of continental lithosphere, consistent with existing models, which proposed that the chemical flux to metasomatized mantle wedge is mainly from subducted sediments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-298
Number of pages22
JournalTerrestrial, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Apr

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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