Glimmerite: a product of melt-rock interaction within a crustal-scale high-strain zone

D. Silva*, N. R. Daczko, S. Piazolo, T. Raimondo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The paradigm for hydrous high-strain zones that cut dry host rocks is for fluid-rock interaction to have involved aqueous fluids. However, the role of silicate melt is increasingly recognised. This contribution examines the formation of glimmerite (biotitite) bands during melt migration in the Gough Dam shear zone, a high-strain zone in central Australia that was active during the Alice Springs Orogeny (c. 450–300 Ma). The glimmerite bands cut and replace a range of quartzo-feldspathic protoliths, including granitic gneiss and quartzite. Melt that migrated through the high-strain zone is interpreted to have penetrated relict layers along a network of fractures, enhancing dissolution of the precursor rock and causing replacement by glimmerite crystallisation. Microstructures indicative of the former presence of melt in the high-strain zone include: pseudomorphs of former melt pockets of granitic composition; small dihedral angles of interstitial phases; elongate grain boundary melt pseudomorphs; neighbourhoods of grains connected in three dimensions; and localised static grain growth and recovery. Other microstructures indicative of melt-present deformation include randomly oriented neosome grains, and evidence of activation of multiple slip systems during deformation. The degree of quartzite modification to glimmerite is recorded by an increase in biotite mode, and correlated with higher Ti concentrations in biotite (higher apparent temperature) and changes to trace element and REE compositions. Melt-assisted coupled dissolution-precipitation reactions during melt flux are interpreted to partially reset Proterozoic monazite U-Pb ages inherited from the protolith (> 1630 Ma) to younger Palaeozoic ages, with a complex age pattern partially congruent with the Alice Springs Orogeny (apparent ages range from c. 606–371 Ma, with a dominant age peak at c. 451 Ma). We propose that the glimmerite formed during dynamic melt migration of an externally-derived hydrous peraluminous melt, driving reaction replacement of various felsic protoliths during this orogenic event.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-184
Number of pages25
JournalGondwana Research
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


  • Glimmerite
  • Metasomatism
  • High-strain zone
  • Monazite
  • Rheology


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