High-T-low-P thermal anomalies superposed on biotite-grade rocks, Wongwibinda Metamorphic Complex, southern New England Orogen, Australia: heat advection by aqueous fluid?

S. J. Craven, N. R. Daczko, J. A. Halpin

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    Abstract

    The Wongwibinda Metamorphic Complex is characterised by ∼400 km2 of biotite-grade rocks with irregular, km-scale zones of cordierite-bearing high-T rock (T > 550°C). Cordierite-bearing rocks include different textures: (i) cordierite-K-feldspar-spotted hornfels; (ii) sheared cordierite-K-feldspar-augen schists; and (iii) migmatites with or without comparatively coarse garnet poikiloblasts. Integrated petrography, mineral chemistry and mineral equilibria modelling indicate metamorphic peak conditions in samples of hornfels of approximately P ≤ 250 MPa and T = 570-620°C. Two samples of sheared rock preserve peak conditions of approximately T = 670-690°C or T < 600°C and P ≤ 200 MPa, consistent with rapid cooling or variable thermal structure in the Glen Mohr Shear Zone. Electron microprobe U-Th-Pb monazite data indicate a date of 291.5 ± 1.8 Ma for the shear zone, indistinguishable from the age of Hillgrove Plutonic Suite granitoids in the complex. Monazite ages are complex in the hornfels samples that were likely, on the basis of structural relationships, metamorphosed early in the history of the Wongwibinda Metamorphic Complex (ca 300 Ma). Previous monazite dating of migmatite samples (ca 297 Ma) suggests that the metamorphic cycle was short-lived, lasting less than ca 10 m.y. Metamorphic field gradients are <15-23°C km-1 across much of the complex but locally steep (>50-100°C km-1) around the high-T rocks. Rejection of most heat sources leaves regional conductive heating as the most plausible explanation for the smooth, broad and shallow metamorphic field gradient in the biotite-grade rocks. Another mechanism of heat transfer is required to explain the local, steep metamorphic field gradients and development of high-T cordierite-bearing rocks. The spatial association of quartzite units centred within two cordierite-bearing high-T domains and an increased abundance of quartz veins above the cordierite isograd suggests heat advection by aqueous fluid locally perturbed the broad conductive heating. Fluid was channelled within shear zones and locally infiltrated nearby rocks. Variable fluid flux and strain have produced the range of different textures in cordierite-bearing rocks of the Wongwibinda Metamorphic Complex.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)621-635
    Number of pages15
    JournalAustralian Journal of Earth Sciences
    Volume60
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

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