Tindle, Andrew G. and Pearce, Julian A.
Assimilation and partial melting of continental crust: evidence from the mineralogy and geochemistry of autoliths and xenoliths.
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This paper presents a model for the partial melting of quartz diorite and greywacke in the upper crust based on the mineralogy and geochemistry of enclaves within the Loch Doon granitic intrusion of southern Scotland. The melting of quartz diorite was modelled using autoliths, which represent fragments of cogenetic igneous rocks that became incorporated in the fractionating magma. Compared to their quartz diorite parents, the autoliths are enriched to varying degrees in some elements (notably Rb, Nb, Ta, Sm, Y, Yb) and depleted in others (Sr, and Ba); Eu and P are also depleted in the more assimitated autoliths. The compositions of melts that could be derived from assimilation of the autoliths have also been calculated: their REE patterns reveal a light REE enrichment, low concentrations of heavy REEs (1–3 x chondrite) and a positive Eu anomaly. The calculated degrees of melting vary from 35% in the least assimilated to 84% in the most assimilated autolith (assuming a bulk distribution coefficient of 10 for the most compatible element). Results from modelling of xenolith compositions (derived from metasediments) are also reported, but because of uncertainties in the composition of the parental sediment, these data are subject to larger errors. They do, however, indicate that resultant partial melts are distinctly different from those derived by partial melting of autoliths. In particular, the REE pattern of a greywacke-derived melt shows a slight enrichment in light REEs, greater concentrations of heavy REEs (10 x chondrite) and a small negative Eu anomaly. The calculated degrees of melting of the xenoliths fall in the range of 66–88% (assuming a bulk distribution coefficient of 10 for the most compatible element). The results have direct implications for assimilation and melting of the upper crust. By taking into account how the nature of residual phases is likely to change with depth, it can be demonstrated that some Archaean tonalite gneisses could represent liquids derived by partial melting of igneous material.
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