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Contrib Mineral Petrol. 2018;173(12):99. doi: 10.1007/s00410-018-1527-5. Epub 2018 Nov 17.

Metasomatism and the crystallization of zircon megacrysts in Archaean peridotites from the Lewisian complex, NW Scotland.

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1The Hunterian, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, G12 8QQ UK.
2School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, G12 8QQ UK.


Zircon megacrysts are locally abundant in 1-40 cm-thick orthopyroxenite veins within peridotite host rocks in the Archaean Lewisian gneiss complex from NW Scotland. The veins formed by metasomatic interaction between the ultramafic host and Si-rich melts are derived from partial melting of the adjacent granulite-facies orthogneisses. The interaction produced abundant orthopyroxene and, within the thicker veins, phlogopite, pargasite and feldspathic bearing assemblages. Two generations of zircon are present with up to 1 cm megacrystic zircon and a later smaller equant population located around the megacryst margins. Patterns of zoning, rare earth element abundance and oxygen isotopic compositions indicate that the megacrysts crystallized from crustal melts, whereas the equant zircon represents new neocryst growth and partial replacement of the megacryst zircon within the ultramafic host. Both zircon types have U-Pb ages of ca. 2464 Ma, broadly contemporaneous with granulite-facies events in the adjacent gneisses. Zircon megacrysts locally form > 10% of the assemblage and may be associated to zones of localized nucleation or physically concentrated during movement of the siliceous melts. Their unusual size is linked to the suppression of zircon nucleation and increased Zr solubility in the Si-undersaturated melts. The metasomatism between crustal melts and peridotite may represent an analog for processes in the mantle wedge above subducting slabs. As such, the crystallization of abundant zircon in ultramafic host rocks has implications for geochemistry of melts generated in the mantle and the widely reported depletion of high field strength elements in arc magmas.


Crustal melts; Lewisian; Megacrysts; Metasomatism; Peridotite; Zircon

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