Phase relationships in granulitic metapelites from the Ivrea-Verbano zone (Northern Italy)

R. Schmid*, B. J. Wood

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    124 Citations (Scopus)


    Paragneisses of the Ivrea-Verbano zone exhibit over a horizontal distance of 5 km mineralogical changes indicative of the transition from amphibolite to granulite facies metamorphism. The most obvious change is the progressive replacement of biotite by garnet via the reaction: {Mathematical expression} which results in a systematic increase in the modal ratio g = (garnet)/(garnet + biotite) with increasing grade. The systematic variations in garnet and biotite contents of metapelites are also reflected by the compositions of these phases, both of which become more magnesian with increasing metamorphic grade. The pressure of metamorphism has been estimated from the Ca3Al2Si3O12 contents of garnets coexisting with plagioclase, sillimanite and quartz. These phases are related by the equilibrium: {Mathematical expression} which has been applied to these rocks using the available data on the mixing properties of plagioclase and garnet solid solutions. Temperature and fH2O estimates have been made in a similar way using thermodynamic data on the biotite-garnet reaction (a) and the approximate solidus temperatures of paragneisses. Amphibolite to granulite facies metamorphism in the Ivrea-Verbano zone took place in the P-T ranges 9-11 kb and 700-820 °C. The differences in temperature and pressure of metamorphism between g= 0 and g = 1 (5 kms horizontal distance) were less than 50° C and approximately 1 kb. Retrogression and re-equilibration of garnets and biotites in the metapelites extended to temperatures more than 50° C below and pressures more than 1.5 kb below the peak of metamorphism, the degree of retrogression increasing with decreasing grade of the metamorphic "peak". The pressure and temperature of the peak of metamorphism are not inconsistent with the hypothesis that the Ivrea-Verbano zone is a slice of upthrusted lower crust from the crust-mantle transition region, although it appears that the thermal gradient was too low for the zone to represent a near-vertical section through the crust. The most reasonable explanation of the granulite facies metamorphism is that it arose through intrusion of mafic rocks into a region already undergoing recrystallisation under amphibolite facies conditions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)255-279
    Number of pages25
    JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 1976


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