A general model for the intrusion and evolution of 'mantle' garnet peridotites in high-pressure and ultra-high-pressure metamorphic terranes

H. K. Brueckner*, L. G. Medaris

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

187 Citations (Scopus)


Garnet-bearing peridotite lenses are minor but significant components of most metamorphic terranes characterized by high-temperature eclogite facies assemblages. Most peridotite intrudes when slabs of continental crust are subducted deeply (60-120 km) into the mantle, usually by following oceanic lithosphere down an established subduction zone. Peridotite is transferred from the resulting mantle wedge into the crustal footwall through brittle and/or ductile mechanisms. These 'mantle' peridotites vary petrographically, chemically, isotopically, chronologically and thermobarometrically from orogen to orogen, within orogens and even within individual terranes. The variations reflect: (1) derivation from different mantle sources (oceanic or continental lithosphere, asthenosphere); (2) perturbations while the mantle wedges were above subducting oceanic lithosphere; and (3) changes within the host crustal slabs during intrusion, subduction and exhumation. Peridotite caught within mantle wedges above oceanic subduction zones will tend to recrystallize and be contaminated by fluids derived from the subducting oceanic crust. These 'subduction zone peridotites' intrude during the subsequent subduction of continental crust. Low-pressure protoliths introduced at shallow (serpentinite, plagioclase peridotite) and intermediate (spinel peridotite) mantle depths (20-50 km) may be carried to deeper levels within the host slab and undergo high-pressure metamorphism along with the enclosing rocks. If subducted deeply enough, the peridotites will develop garnet-bearing assemblages that are isofacial with, and give the same recrystallization ages as, the eclogite facies country rocks. Peridotites introduced at deeper levels (50-120 km) may already contain garnet when they intrude and will not necessarily be isofacial or isochronous with the enclosing crustal rocks. Some garnet peridotites recrystallize from spinel peridotite precursors at very high temperatures (c. 1200 °C) and may derive ultimately from the asthenosphere. Other peridotites are from old (>1 Ga), cold (c. 850 °C), subcontinental mantle ('relict peridotites') and seem to require the development of major intra-cratonic faults to effect their intrusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-133
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Metamorphic Geology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Collisional orogens
  • Eclogite facies
  • Garnet peridotite
  • High-pressure/ultra-high-pressure (HP/UHP) terranes


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