The magmatic to hydrothermal evolution of the intrusive mont saint-hilaire complex: Insights into the late-stage evolution of peralkaline rocks

Julian Schilling, Michael A W Marks, Thomas Wenzel, Torsten Vennemann, Ĺszló Horv́th, Peter Tarassoff, Dorrit E. Jacob, Gregor Markl*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


The Cretaceous Mont Saint-Hilaire complex (Quebec, Canada) comprises three major rock units that were emplaced in the following sequence: (I) gabbros; (II) diorites; (III) diverse partly agpaitic foid syenites. The major element compositions of the rock-forming minerals, age-corrected Nd and oxygen isotope data for mineral separates and trace element data of Fe-Mg silicates from the various lithologies imply a common source for all units. The distribution of the rare earth elements in clinopyroxene from the gabbros indicates an ocean island basalt type composition for the parental magma. Gabbros record temperatures of 1200 to 800°C, variable silica activities between 0·7 and 0·3, and fO2 values between -0·5 and +0·7 (log ΔFMQ, where FMQ is fayalite-magnetite-quartz). The diorites crystallized under uniform aSiO2 (aSiO2 = 0·4-0·5) and more reduced fO2 conditions (log ΔFMQ ~ -1) between ~1100 and ~800°C. Phase equilibria in various foid syenites indicate that silica activities decrease from 0·6-0·3 at ~1000°C to <0·3 at ~550°C. Release of an aqueous fluid during the transition to the hydrothermal stage caused aSiO2 to drop to very low values, which results from reduced SiO2 solubilities in aqueous fluids compared with silicate melts. During the hydrothermal stage, high water activities stabilized zeolite-group minerals. Fluid inclusions record a complex post-magmatic history, which includes trapping of an aqueous fluid that unmixed from the restitic foid syenitic magma. Cogenetic aqueous and carbonic fluid inclusions reflect heterogeneous trapping of coexisting immiscible external fluids in the latest evolutionary stage. The O and C isotope characteristics of fluid-inclusion hosted CO2 and late-stage carbonates imply that the surrounding limestones were the source of the external fluids. The mineral-rich syenitic rocks at Mont Saint-Hilaire evolved as follows: first, alkalis, high field strength and large ion lithophile elements were pre-enriched in the (late) magmatic and subsequent hydrothermal stages; second, percolation of external fluids in equilibrium with the carbonate host-rocks and mixing processes with internal fluids as well as fluid-rock interaction governed dissolution of pre-existing minerals, element transport and precipitation of mineral assemblages determined by locally variable parameters. It is this hydrothermal interplay between internal and external fluids that is responsible for the mineral wealth found at Mont Saint-Hilaire.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberegr042
Pages (from-to)2147-2185
Number of pages39
JournalJournal of Petrology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


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