Compositional variation within granite suites of the Lachlan Fold Belt: Its causes and implications for the physical state of granite magma

B. W. Chappell*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    88 Citations (Scopus)


    Granites within suites share compositional properties that reflect features of their source rocks. Variation within suites results dominantly from crystal fractionation, either of restite crystals entrained from the source, or by the fractional crystallisation of precipitated crystals. At least in the Lachlan Fold Belt, the processes of magma mixing, assimilation or hydrothermal alteration were insignificant in producing the major compositional variations within suites. Fractional crystallisation produced the complete variation in only one significant group of rocks of that area, the relatively high temperature Boggy Plain Supersuite. Modelling of Sr, Ba and Rb variations in the I-type Glenbog and Moruya suites and the S-type Bullenbalong Suite shows that variation within those suites cannot be the result of fractional crystallisation, but can be readily accounted for by restite fractionation. Direct evidence for the dominance of restite fractionation includes the close chemical equivalence of some plutonic and volcanic rocks, the presence of plagioclase cores that were not derived from a mingled mafic component, and the occurrence of older cores in many zircon crystals. In the Lachlan Fold Belt, granite suites typically evolved through a protracted phase of restite fractionation, with a brief episode of fractional crystallisation sometimes evident in the most felsic rocks. Evolution of the S-type Koetong Suite passed at about 69% SiO2 from a stage dominated by restite separation to one of fractional crystallisation. Other suites exist where felsic rocks evolved in the same way, but the more mafic rocks are absent. In terranes in which tonalitic rocks formed at high temperatures are more common, fractional crystallisation would be a more important process than was the case for the Lachlan Fold Belt.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)159-170
    Number of pages12
    JournalTransactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Earth Sciences
    Issue number1-2
    Publication statusPublished - 1996


    • Assimilation
    • Crystal fractionation
    • Fractional crystallisation
    • Granite suites
    • Hybrids
    • Magma mingling
    • Magma mixing
    • Magmas
    • Partition coefficients
    • Restite fractionation
    • Restites


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