Geochronological constraints on the evolution of high-pressure felsic granulites from an integrated electron microprobe and ID-TIMS geochemical study

Julia A. Baldwin, Samuel A. Bowring, Michael L. Williams, Kevin H. Mahan

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57 Scopus citations


A combined geochronological, geochemical, and Nd isotopic study of felsic high-pressure granulites from the Snowbird Tectonic Zone, northern Saskatchewan, Canada, has been carried out through the application of integrated electron microprobe and isotope dilution thermal ionization mass spectrometry (ID-TIMS) techniques. The terrane investigated is a 400 km2 domain of garnet-kyanite-K-feldspar-bearing quartzofeldspathic gneisses. Monazite in these granulites preserves a complex growth history from 2.6 to 1.9 Ga, with well-armored, high Y and Th grains included in garnet yielding the oldest U-Pb dates at 2.62 to 2.59 Ga. In contrast, matrix grains and inclusions in garnet rims that are not well-armored are depleted in Y and Th, and display more complicated U-Pb systematics with multiple age domains ranging from 2.5 to 2.0 Ga. 1.9 Ga monazite occurs exclusively as matrix grains. Zircon is typically younger (2.58 to 2.55 Ga) than the oldest monazite. Sm-Nd isotope analysis of single monazite grains and whole rock samples indicate that inclusions of Archean monazite in garnet are similar in isotopic composition to the whole rock signature with a limited range of slightly negative initial e{open}Nd. In contrast, grains that contain a Paleoproterozoic component show more positive initial e{open}Nd, most simply interpreted as reflecting derivation from a source involving consumption of garnet and general depletion of HREE's. Our preferred interpretation is that the oldest monazite dates record igneous crystallization of the protolith. The ca. 2.55 Ga dates in zircon and monazite record an extensive melting event during which garnet and ternary feldspar formed. Very high-pressure (> 1.5 GPa) metamorphism during the Paleoproterozoic at 1.9 Ga produced kyanite from garnet breakdown, and resulted in limited growth of new monazite and zircon. In the case of monazite, this is likely due to the armoring and sequestration of early-formed monazite such that it could not participate in metamorphic reactions during the high-pressure event, as well as the depletion of the REE's due to melt loss following the early melting event.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-200
Number of pages28
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - May 2006


  • Geochronology
  • High-pressure granulite
  • Monazite
  • Snowbird Tectonic Zone
  • Zircon


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