The anatectic history of Archaean metasedimentary granulites from the Ancient Gneiss Complex, Swaziland

Taylor, Jeanne (2012-03)

Thesis (DSc)--Stellenbosch University, 2012

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study is an investigation of the anatectic history of high-grade paragneisses from the Ancient Gneiss Complex (AGC) in Swaziland. The work involved an integrated field, metamorphic, geochemical, geochronological and structural study of metasedimentary granulites from three separate, but spatially related areas of outcrop in south-central Swaziland, which were subjected to multiple high-grade partial melting events throughout the Meso- to Neoarchaean. The project has aimed to constrain the age(s) and conditions of metamorphism, so as to contribute to the understanding of geodynamic processes in the Barberton and AGC granite-greenstone terranes, as well as to investigate certain physical and chemical aspects of anatexis in the migmatites. The metamorphic record retained in these rocks, constrained by phase equilibria modelling as well as zircon and monazite SHRIMP and LA-ICP-MS geochronology, informs on the state of the mid- to lower-crust of the southeastern Kaapvaal Craton during key events associated with early lithosphere assembly and crustal differentiation. It also suggests that the region is comprised of more than one high-grade terrane. Two of the areas investigated experienced high-temperature metamorphism at ca. 3.23-3.21 Ga, in addition to a major 830-875º C, 6.5-7.6 kbar anatectic event at ca. 3.11-3.07 Ga. Intermediate and younger high-temperature events are recorded at ca. 3.18 Ga, ca. 3.16 Ga and 2.99 Ga. The timing of these metamorphic events coincided with the amalgamation of the eastern domain of the proto-Craton via subduction and accretion of micro-continental fragments at ca. 3.23 Ga, including the Barberton Greenstone Belt (BGB) and AGC terranes, as well as discrete episodes of crustal differentiation and potassic granitic magmatism between ca. 3.23 and 3.10 Ga. The third area investigated holds no record of Mesoarchaean metamorphism, but instead experienced a 830- 855 ºC, 4.4-6.4 kbar partial melting episode at ca. 2.73 Ga. This broadly coincided with the formation of a large continental flood basalt province, the ca. 2.71 Ga Ventersdorp LIP, and widespread intracratonic granitic magmatism on the Craton towards the end of the Neoarchaean. An explanation for the contrast in metamorphic record in the two terranes may be that the 2.71 Ga granulites represent a much younger sedimentary succession, and that granulites from the older terrane were left too restitic, after substantial partial melting during the Mesoarchaean, to record subsequent high-grade events. Finally, this study documents the details of S-type granitic magma production and extraction from a typical metapelitic source. Using the 2.73 Ga granulites from the AGC as a natural field laboratory, a case is made for the selective entrainment of peritectic garnet to the magma as a mechanism for generating relatively mafic, peraluminous S-type granite compositions. The work demonstrates the evolution of entrained peritectic garnet in such magmas, and is in strong support of a ‘peritectic phase entrainment’ process by which relatively mafic granite magmas are produced from melts which, in theory, should be highly leucocratic.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie ondersoek die anatektiese geskiedenis van hoëgraadse metasedimentêre gneise uit die Ancient Gneiss Complex (AGC) in Swaziland. Die werk behels 'n geïntegreerde veld, metamorfiese, geochemiese, geochronologiese en strukturele studie van metasedimentêre granuliete van drie afsonderlike, maar ruimtelik verwante gebiede in suid-sentraal Swaziland, wat aan verskeie hoëgraadse anatektiese gebeure onderworpe was gedurende die Meso-tot Neoargeïese tydsperiode. Die studie is daarop gemik om die ouderdomme en die kondisies van metamorfose vas te stel, om sodoende by te dra tot die begrip van die geodinamiese prosesse in die Barberton en AGC granietgroensteen terrein, asook om sekere fisiese en chemiese aspekte van die anatektiese proses te ondersoek. Die metamorfe rekord, bepaal deur mineraal ewewigsmodellering sowel as sirkoon en monasiet SHRIMP en LA-ICP-MS geochronologie, belig die toestand van die middel-tot laer-kors van die suidoostelike Kaapvaal Kraton tydens vroeë litosfeer samesmelting en differensiasie. Dit stel ook voor dat die streek uit meer as een hoëgraadse terrein bestaan. Twee van die gebiede het hoë-temperatuur metamorfose by 3.23-3.21 Ga ervaar, asook 'n hoof 830-875 ° C, 6.5-7.6 kbar anatektiese gebeurtenis by 3.11-3.07 Ga. Intermediêre en jonger hoë-temperatuur gebeure was ook by 3.18 Ga, 3.16 Ga en 2.99 Ga geregistreer. Die metamorfose van die gebied stem ooreen met die samesmelting van die oos Kaapvaal Kraton domein deur subduksie en aanwas van mikro-kontinente by 3.23 Ga, insluitend die Barberton en AGC terreine, asook diskrete episodes van kors differensiasie en kalium-ryke graniet magmatisme tussen 3.23 en 3.10 Ga. Die derde gebied hou geen rekord van Mesoargeïkum metamorfose nie. In plaas daarvan het dit 'n 830-855 ° C, 4.4-6.4 kbar anatektiese episode by 2.73 Ga ervaar, wat ooreenstem met die vorming van 'n groot kontinentale vloedbasalt provinsie, die 2.71 Ga Ventersdorp Supergroep, en wydverspreide intrakratoniese graniet magmatisme teen die einde van die Neoargeïkum. 'n Moontlike verduideliking vir die kontras in metamorfe rekord in die twee terreine mag wees dat die 2.71 Ga granuliete 'n jonger sedimentêre afsetting verteenwoordig, en dat granuliete van die ouer terrein te restieties gelaat was na aansienlike anateksis in die Mesoargeïkum, om daaropvolgende hoëgraadse gebeure te registreer. Ten slotte, hierdie studie dokumenteer die besonderhede van S-tipe graniet magma produksie en ontginning van 'n tipiese metasedimentêre bron. Die 2.73 Ga granuliete word gebruik as 'n natuurlike veld laboratorium om die selektiewe optel-en-meevoering van peritektiese granaat tot die magma te ondersoek. Die werk toon die evolusie van peritektiese granate in sulke magmas aan, en ondersteun lewering van relatiewe mafiese graniet magmas deur 'n ‘peritektiese fase optel-en-meevoerings’ proses.

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