Tourmaline in a low grade clastic metasedimentary rock: an example of the petrogenetic potential of tourmaline

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Detrital tourmaline grains and their associated tourmaline overgrowths provide a means to unravel the provenance and petrogenetic history of low grade clastic metasedimentary rocks. Evidence derives from tourmaline grains found in a lithic wacke metamorphosed to chlorite zone conditions. The detrital tourmaline cores are diagnostic indicators of the source rocks of the sediment whereas the overgrowths record both diagenetic and metamorphic reactions in the rock. Tourmaline grains consist of a detrital core surrounded by asymmetric overgrowths comprised of inner and outer rims. Abrupt chemical discontinuities between each of these zones implies that volume diffusion within tourmaline was minor under the conditions of formation. Compositions of the detrital cores vary widely, yet can be correlated with source rock types that are consistent with lithic fragments recognizable in the metawacke. At either the analogous or antilogous pole, inner rim compositions proximal to the detrital cores converge, despite the substrate tourmaline composition, indicating an approach to chemical equilibrium. However, significant dufferences in Al and X-site vacancies at the expense of Mg, Na and Ti between the analogous and antilogous poles of the inner rims demonstrate the presence of significant amounts of compositional polarity. Outer rim compositions at either pole also converge but compositional polarity between the analogous and antilogous poles persists. The presence of the inner and outer rims separated by a compositional discontinuity suggests punctuated evolution of the overgrowth. This implies that boron was sporadically available during diagenesis and metamorphism. Based on boron contents of minerals, this may correspond to a mechanism such as boron release due to polytypic change of illite or consumption of illite and/or muscovite. As such, tourmaline growth stages may serve as a monitor of chemical reactions in low grade metamorphic rocks. © 1992 Springer-Verlag.

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Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

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