Kyanite petrogenesis in migmatites: resolving melting and metamorphic signatures

Phillips, Stacy E.; Argles, Tom W.; Warren, Clare J.; Harris, Nigel B. W. and Kunz, Barbara E. (2023). Kyanite petrogenesis in migmatites: resolving melting and metamorphic signatures. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 178(2), article no. 10.



Aluminosilicates (kyanite, sillimanite and andalusite) are useful pressure–temperature (P–T) indicators that can form in a range of rock types through different mineral reactions, including those that involve partial melting. However, the presence of xenocrystic or inherited grains may lead to spurious P–T interpretations. The morphologies, microtextural positions, cathodoluminescence responses and trace element compositions of migmatite-hosted kyanite from Eastern Bhutan were investigated to determine whether sub-solidus kyanite could be distinguished from kyanite that crystallised directly from partial melt, or from kyanite that grew peritectically during muscovite dehydration reactions. Morphology and cathodoluminescence response were found to be the most reliable petrogenetic indicators. Trace element abundances generally support petrographic evidence, but protolith bulk composition exerts a strong control over absolute element abundance in kyanite. Sample-normalised concentrations show distinctive differences between petrogenetic types, particularly for Mg, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe and Ge. LA-ICP-MS element maps, particularly combined to show Cr/V, provide additional information about changing geochemical environments during kyanite growth. Most kyanite in the studied migmatitic leucosomes is of sub-solidus origin, with less widespread evidence for peritectic crystallisation. Where present, grain rims commonly crystallised directly from the melt; however, entire grains crystallised exclusively from melt are rare. The presence of kyanite in leucosomes does not, therefore, necessarily constrain the P–T conditions of melting, and the mechanism of growth should be determined before using kyanite as a P–T indicator. This finding has significant implications for the interpretation of kyanite-bearing migmatites as representing early stages of melting during Himalayan evolution.

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