Cs-Rb-Ba systematics in phengite and amphibole: An assessment of fluid mobility at 2.0 GPa in eclogites from Trescolmen, Central Alps

T. Zack, T. Rivers, S. F. Foley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Citations (Scopus)


Eclogites from Trescolmen that contain abundant hydrous minerals (phengite, amphibole, paragonite, zoisite, talc, apatite) show petrographic evidence for fluid infiltration under conditions of 2.0 to 1.8 GPa, 650 °C. Large ion lithophile elements (LILE, e.g. Cs, Rb, Ba and Sr) were analysed by in-situ techniques in all eclogite mineral phases in order to characterize the behaviour of fluid-mobile elements at high pressure. In-situ analysis of carefully-chosen metamorphic assemblages circumvents the problem of partial late-stage alteration, which can severely influence the calculated element budgets of whole-rock samples. Phengite is the dominant host for Cs, Rb, and Ba in both eclogite and adjacent garnet mica schist samples, and incorporates > 90% of the budgets of these elements in whole rocks. LILE contents of phengites in phengiterich rocks are likely to record the Cs/Rb and Ba/Rb ratios of their host rock protoliths. The LILE patterns of eclogite are consistent with protoliths derived from basalt that underwent seafloor alteration, whereas those of mica schist are almost identical to average upper continental crust. In contrast, LILE patterns of eclogite samples that lack phengite, but do contain amphibole, are unlike any plausible protolith, but are identical to those of amphibole in phengite-bearing samples. This observation points to homogenization of the LILE in different lithologies, which we correlate with petrographic evidence for fluid infiltration. Because phengite in garnet mica schist has a strong capacity to buffer the fluid with respect to Cs, Rb, and Ba, homogenization of amphiboles is best explained by fluid infiltration from the surrounding metapelites into eclogite bodies, implying at least metre-scale fluid mobility. The amphibole homogenization can be most easily modelled by a pervasive open-system fluid flux through the eclogites, possibly facilitated by ductile deformation during the early stages of uplift. Simple calculations give minimum fluid-rock ratios of ∼0.001 to 0.004. Demonstration of the mobility of very small volumes of fluid through eclogite is an important prerequisite of many subduction zone models that try to explain across-arc variations in trace element geochemistry. The low fluid-rock ratios from this study are not in contrast with oxygen isotope heterogeneities reported from other eclogite localities. Fluid mobile elements such as Cs, Rb and Ba are more sensitive indicators of small volume, fluid-rock interaction and are therefore potentially valuable for understanding fluid infiltration processes in systems where oxygen isotope shifts are not large enough to be detectable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)651-669
Number of pages19
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Cs-Rb-Ba systematics in phengite and amphibole: An assessment of fluid mobility at 2.0 GPa in eclogites from Trescolmen, Central Alps'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this