Reddish metagranites from the gennargentu igneous complex (Sardinia, Italy): insight into metasomatism induced by magma mingling

Mario Gaeta*, Andrea Giuliani, Simona Perilla, Valeria Misiti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The mineralogy of thermometamorphic granites is relatively simple, making it possible to track the spatial distribution of chemical and mineralogical variations in these rocks and investigate the processes that underpin these metamorphic reactions. We have undertaken a detailed investigation of metagranites from the contact aureole that fringes a quartz diorite intrusion of Late Permian age, emplaced into Carboniferous peraluminous granites of the Gennargentu Igneous Complex (Sardinia, Italy). New data are presented including the petrography of metagranites within a 500 m zone adjacent to the quartz diorite intrusion, the compositions of minerals and bulk-rocks, and the oxygen isotope compositions of separated minerals. We have used these data to assess the mobility of elements, expressed as δoxide, in the aureole, and the physical conditions of fluid-assisted thermometamorphism. Modal variations and the oscillatory zoning of plagioclase demonstrate that the shallow (P ≤200MPa) quartz diorite intrusion was emplaced through a number of magmatic injections. The border zone of the quartz diorite intrusion presents evidence of two main processes: hybridization between andesite and rhyolite magmas and volatile saturation of the mingled magma. Modal differences in the contact zone with respect to the protolith (i.e. peraluminous granite), variations in mineral composition, temperature constraints and δK2O, δNa2O, δSiO2 and δAl2O3 indicate that a relatively large volume of the host granite (up to 400 m from the contact) was metasomatized by high-temperature (650-350°C) fluids derived from the mingled zone of the quartz diorite intrusion. In detail, the metasomatic K2O-rich fluid reacted with albite to form K-feldspar, and triggered the recrystallization of quartz and plagioclase to higher calcium concentrations. The progressive increase in the MgO/(MgO+FeO) of chlorite closer to the contact indicates that this phase also recrystallized. The iron released during chlorite recrystallization was buffered by hematite formation in the pores of metasomatic K-feldspar. The Gennargentu metagranites provide evidence that metasomatic fluids can play a major role in driving metamorphic reactions in contact aureoles. For instance, the expected increase of Ca in plagioclase owing to thermal equilibration was not achieved in the high-T zone of the aureole because of fluid-assisted removal of cations. We conclude that caution should be taken when interpreting the processes that underpin contact metamorphism in terms of thermally driven, ionic diffusion alone, because the role of fluids may be significant, if not overwhelming, in the domains closest to the magmatic source.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)839-859
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Petrology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Contact metamorphism
  • Gennargentu igneous complex
  • Metasomatism
  • Oxygen isotopes
  • Red metagranites

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Reddish metagranites from the gennargentu igneous complex (Sardinia, Italy): insight into metasomatism induced by magma mingling'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this