From source to emplacement: the origin of leucogranites from the Sikkim-Darjeeling Himalaya, India

Srivastava, Tanya; Harris, Nigel; Mottram, Catherine; Joshi, Kumar and Wanjari, Nischal (2023). From source to emplacement: the origin of leucogranites from the Sikkim-Darjeeling Himalaya, India. Geoscience Frontiers, 15(1), article no. 101733.



Himalayan leucogranites are important for understanding the tectonic evolution of collision zones in general and the causes of crustal melting in the Himalayan orogen in particular. This paper aims to understand the melt source and emplacement age of the leucogranites from Sikkim in order to decipher the deep geodynamic processes of the eastern Himalayas. Zircon U-Pb analysis of the Higher Himalayan Sequence (HHS) metamorphic core reveals a prolonged period of crustal melting between >33 to ca. 14 Ma. Major and trace element abundances are presented for 27 leucogranites from North Sikkim that are classified into two-mica and tourmaline leucogranite types. They are peraluminous in composition, characterized by high SiO2 (70.91–74.9 wt.%), Al2O3 (13.69–15.82 wt.%), and low MgO (0.13–0.74 wt.%). Elemental abundances suggest that Sikkim Himalayan leucogranites are derived from crustal melts. The two-mica leucogranites are derived from a metagreywacke source, whereas the tourmaline leucogranites are sourced from metapelitic sources, with inherited zircons indicating an HHS origin for both types. U-Pb zircon geochronology of the two mica leucogranites indicates ages of ca. 19–15 Ma, consistent with crustal melting recorded in HHS gneisses from Darjeeling. Monazites from both the two-mica and tourmaline granites yield a crystallization age of ca. 14 Ma, coeval with movement on the Main Central Thrust and South Tibetan Detachment System which further provides constraints on the timing and mechanism of petrogenesis of leucogranites in the Sikkim Himalayas.

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