The signature of devolatisation: Extraneous 40Ar systematics in high-pressure metamorphic rocks

Andrew J. Smye, Clare J. Warren, Mike J. Bickle

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The validity of using the 40Ar/39Ar system for thermochronology relies on the assumption that the source mineral is surrounded by a grain boundary reservoir defined by an effective 40Ar concentration of zero. However, the presence of extraneous 40Ar (Are) in metamorphic rocks shows that this assumption is invalid for a significant number of cases. Are is common in micas that have equilibrated under (ultra-)high pressure ((U)HP) conditions: metasediments from six Phanerozoic (U)HP terranes yield apparent 40Ar/39Ar phengite ages ≲50% in excess of the age of peak (U)HP conditions, whereas cogenetic mafic eclogites yield ages up to ~700% older despite lower K2O concentrations. A model is developed that calculates Are age fractions as a function of variable mica-fluid K D, bulk K2O and porosity under closed system conditions. Measured Are concentrations in mafic eclogites are reproduced only when porosities are ≲10 - 4 volume fraction, showing that mafic protoliths operate as closed systems to advective solute transport during subduction. Porosities in eclogite-facies metapelites are ≲10 - 2, reflecting loss of significant volumes of lattice-bound H2O relative to mafic rocks during subduction. Retention of locally-generated 40Ar in mafic eclogites shows that the oceanic crust is an efficient vehicle for volatile transport to the mantle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-112
Number of pages19
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
StatePublished - Jul 5 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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