Assembly and Tectonic Evolution of Continental Lower Crust: Monazite Petrochronology of the Ivrea-Verbano Zone (Val Strona di Omegna)

Damaris C. Wyatt, Andrew J. Smye, Joshua M. Garber, Bradley R. Hacker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Metasediments are common constituents of exhumed lower-to-mid-crustal granulite terranes; understanding their emplacement is significant for the assembly and tectonic evolution of deep continental crust. Here, we report a monazite U-Th-Pb petrochronological investigation of the Variscan Ivrea-Verbano Zone (IVZ) (Val Strona di Omegna section)—an archetypal section of lower crust. Monazite Th-Pb dates from 11 metapelitic samples decrease with structural depth from 310 to 285 Ma for amphibolite-facies samples to <290 Ma for granulite-facies samples. These dates exhibit a time-resolved variation in monazite trace-element composition, dominated by the effects of plagioclase and garnet partitioning. Monazite growth under prograde to peak metamorphic conditions began as early as 316 ± 2 Ma. Amphibolite-facies monazite defines a trend consistent with progressively decreasing garnet modal abundances during decompression and cooling starting at ∼310 Ma; the timing of the onset of exhumation decreases to ∼290 Ma at the base of the amphibolite-facies portion of the section. Structurally lower, granulite-facies monazite equilibrated under garnet-present pressure-temperature conditions at <290 Ma, with monazite (re)crystallization persisting until at least ∼260 Ma. Combined with existing detrital zircon U-Pb dates, the monazite data define a <30 Myr duration between deposition of clastic sediments and their burial and heating, potentially to peak amphibolite-to-granulite-facies conditions. Similarly brief timescales for deposition, burial and prograde metamorphism of lower crustal sediments have been reported from continental magmatic arc terranes—supporting the interpretation that the IVZ represents sediments accreted to the base of a Variscan arc magmatic system >5 Myr prior to the onset of regional extension and mafic magmatism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2021TC006841
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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