Metamorphic evolution of medium-temperature ultra-high pressure (MT-UHP) eclogites from the South Dabie orogen, Central China: an insight from phase equilibria modelling

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Medium-temperature ultrahigh pressure (MT-UHP) eclogites from the south Dabie orogen, as represented by samples from the Jinheqiao, Shuanghe and Bixiling areas, consist of garnet, omphacite, phengite, epidote, hornblendic amphibole, quartz/coesite and rutile with or without kyanite and talc. Garnet is mostly anhedral and unzoned, but a few porphyroblasts are weakly zoned with core–mantle increasing grossular (Xgr) and decreasing pyrope (Xpy) contents. Garnet compositions are closely correlated with the bulk compositions. For instance, the Xpy and Xgr contents are positively correlated with the bulk MgO and CaO contents. Phengite is occasionally zoned with core–rim deceasing Si content, and phengite grains as inclusions in garnet show higher Si than in the matrix, suggesting differently resetting during post-peak stages. The maximum Si contents are mostly 3.60–3.63 p.f.u. for the three areas. Pseudosections calculated using THERMOCALC suggest that the MT-UHP eclogites should have a peak assemblage of garnet + omphacite + lawsonite + phengite + coesite in most rocks of higher MgO content. In this assemblage, the Xpy in garnet mostly depends on bulk compositions, whereas the Xgr in garnet and the Si contents in phengite regularly increase, respectively, as temperature and as pressure rise, and thus, can provide robust thermobarometric constraints. Using the Xgr and Si isopleths in pseudosections, the peak P–T conditions were estimated to be 40 kbar/730 °C for the Jinheqiao, 41 kbar/726 °C for the Shuanghe, and 37–52 kbar and 700–830 °C for the Bixiling eclogites. Some eclogites with higher FeO are predicted to have a peak assemblage of garnet + omphacite + coesite ± phengite without lawsonite, where the garnet and phengite compositions highly depend on bulk compositions and generally cannot give available thermobarometric constraints. Decompression of the eclogites with lawsonite in the peak stage is inferred to be accompanied with cooling and involves two stages: an early-stage decompression is dominated by lawsonite dehydration, resulting in increase in the mode of anhydrous minerals, or further eclogitization, and formation of epidote porphyroblasts and kyanite-bearing quartz veins in eclogite. As lawsonite dehydration can facilitate evolution of assemblages under fluid-present conditions, it is difficult to recover real peak P–T conditions for UHP eclogites with lawsonite. This may be a reason why the P–T conditions estimated for eclogites using thermobarometers are mostly lower than those estimated for the coherent ultramafic rocks, and lower than those suggested from the inclusion assemblages in zircon from marble. A late-stage decompression is dominated by formation of hornblendic amphibole and plagioclase with fluid infiltration. The lawsonite-absent MT-UHP eclogites have only experienced a decompression metamorphism corresponding to the later stage and generally lack the epidote overprinting.

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