Origin of K-poor leucosomes in a metasedimentary migmatite complex by ultrametamorphism, syn-metamorphic magmatism and subsolidus processes

D. L. Whitney, A. J. Irving

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Two types of stromatic leucosomes are identified in metasedimentary rocks from the Skagit migmatite complex, North Cascades, Washington state, U.S.A. Both types are trondhjemitic and appear similar in outcrop, but, although both contain low abundances of REE, one type consists of leucosomes that are relatively REE-enriched compared to the other, and contains (1) small (<0.8 mm), Fe-rich garnets that are compositionally and texturally different from mesosome and melanosome garnet; (2) Ti-rich minerals (rutile, titanite) that are not present in the groundmass of the associated mesosomes or melanosomes and (3) CO2-rich fluid inclusions in quartz. Leucosomes of the second type are REE-depleted compared to the first type, lack garnet and Ti-minerals, and contain only H2O-rich fluid inclusions. The first type of leucosome is interpreted to have formed by in situ partial melting accompanied, and perhaps initiated, by an influx of water-rich fluid during upper amphibolite facies metamorphism. These conclusions are based on estimates of metamorphic P-T-Xfluid conditions (9-10 kbar, > 700°C, water-rich fluid present), inferences about the origin of the above-listed mineralogical and fluid inclusion features, and modeling of leucosome trace element abundances. The second type of leucosome is interpreted to have formed entirely by subsolidus processes (e.g., metamorphic differentiation) because these leucosomes lack features consistent with an origin by partial melting. K-poor (tonalitic/trondhjemitic) leucosomes associated with metasedimentary (biotite-bearing) source rocks may form by water-saturated partial melting or by subsolidus processes. Both general leucosome-forming mechanisms may operate at different times during upper amphibolite facies regional metamorphism. Partial melting may be initiated by syn-metamorphic magmatic activity if crystallizing plutons serve as external sources of the water-rich fluid necessary for ultrametamorphism in the middle crust during orogenesis. Large-scale migmatite complexes such as the Skagit migmatites may form at least in part in response to contact effects of plutonism associated with high-grade metamorphism, so, although migmatite complexes are a volumetrically substantial part of many orogenic belts, they may not themselves represent a significant original source of magma for larger-scale igneous bodies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-192
Number of pages20
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Jul 1994


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