Metamorphic fingerprints of Fe-rich chromitites from the Eastern Pampean Ranges, Argentina

Vanessa Colás*, Ignacio Subías, José María González-Jiménez, Joaquín A. Proenza, Isabel Fanlo, Antoni Camprubí, William L. Griffin, Fernando Gervilla, Suzanne Y O'Reilly, Monica F. Escayola

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
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Chromitites hosted in the serpentinized harzburgite bodies from Los Congos and Los Guanacos (Eastern Pampean Ranges, north Argentina) record a complex metamorphic evolution. The hydration of chromitites during the retrograde metamorphism, their subsequent dehydration during the prograde metamorphism and the later-stage cooling, have resulted in a threefold alteration of chromite: i) Type I is characterized by homogeneous Fe3+- and Cr-rich chromite; ii) Type II chromite contains exsolved textures that consist in blebs and fine lamellae of a magnetite-rich phase hosted in a spinel-rich phase; iii) Type III chromite is formed by variable proportions of magnetite-rich and spinel-rich phases with symplectitic texture. Type I chromite shows lower Ga and higher Co, Zn and Mn than magmatic chromites from chromitites in suprasubduction zone ophiolites as a consequence of the redistribution of these elements between Fe3+-rich non-porous chromite and silicates during the prograde metamorphism. Whereas, the spinel-rich phase in Type III chromite is enriched in Co, Zn, Sc, and Ga, but depleted in Mn, Ni, V and Ti with respect to the magnetite-rich phase, due to the metamorphic cooling from high-temperature conditions. The pseudosection calculated in the fluid-saturated FCrMACaSH system, and contoured for Cr# and Mg#, allows us to constrain the temperature of formation of Fe3+-rich non-porous chromite by the diffusion of magnetite in Fe2+-rich porous chromite at <500 ºC and 20 kbar. The subsequent dehydration of Fe3+-rich non-porous chromite by reaction with antigorite and chlorite formed Type I chromite and Mg-rich olivine and pyroxene at >800 ºC and 10 kbar. The ultimate hydration of silicates in Type I chromite and the exsolution of Type II and Type III chromites would have started at ~600 ºC. These temperatures are in the range of those estimated for ocean floor serpentinization (<300 ºC and <4 kbar), the regional prograde metamorphism in the granulite facies (800 ºC and <10 kbar), and subsequent retrogression to the amphibolite facies (600 ºC and 4-6.2 kbar) in the host ultramafic rocks at Los Congos and Los Guanacos. A continuous and slow cooling from granulite to amphibolite facies produced the exsolution of spinel-rich and magnetite-rich phases, developing symplectitic textures in Type III chromite. However, the discontinuous and relatively fast cooling produced the exsolution of magnetite-rich phase blebs and lamellae within Type II chromite. The P-T conditions calculated in FCrMACaSH system and the complex textural and geochemical fingerprints showed by Type I, Type II and Type III chromites leads us to suggest that continent-continent collisional orogeny better records the fingerprints of prograde metamorphism in ophiolitic chromitites.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA080420
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalBoletin de la Sociedad Geologica Mexicana
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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  • altered chromite
  • minor and trace elements
  • thermodynamic modelling
  • prograde metamorphism
  • Eastern Pampean Ranges
  • Argentina


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