Petrogenesis of kyanite- and corundum-bearing mafic granulite in a meta-ophiolite, SE Turkey

Mitchell B. Awalt, Donna L. Whitney

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Although ophiolitic rocks are abundant in Anatolia (Turkey), only in rare cases have they experienced high-grade metamorphism. Even more uncommon, in Anatolia and elsewhere are high-grade meta-ophiolites that retain an oceanic lithosphere stratigraphy from upper crustal mafic volcanic rocks through lower crustal gabbro to mantle peridotite. The Berit meta-ophiolite of SE Turkey exhibits both features: from structurally higher to lower levels, it consists of garnet amphibolite (metabasalt), granulite facies metagabbro (as lenses in amphibolite inferred to be retrogressed granulite) and metaperidotite (locally with metapyroxenite layers). Whole-rock major and trace-element data indicate a tholeiitic protolith that formed in a suprasubduction setting. This paper presents new results for the metamorphic P–T conditions and path of oceanic lower crustal rocks in the Berit meta-ophiolite, and an evaluation of the tectonic processes that may drive granulite facies metamorphism of ophiolite gabbro. In the Doğanşehir (Malatya, Turkey) region, granulite facies gabbroic rocks contain garnet (Grt)+clinopyroxene (Cpx)+plagioclase (Pl)+corundum (Crn)±orthopyroxene (Opx)±kyanite (Ky)±sapphirine (Spr)±rutile. Some exhibit symplectites consisting of Crn+Cpx, Ky+Cpx and/or coronas of garnet (outer shell) around a polygonal aggregate of clinopyroxene that in some cases surrounds a polygonal aggregate of orthopyroxene. Coronitic and non-coronitic textures occur in proximity in mm- to cm-scale layers; corona structures typically occur in plagioclase-rich layers. Their formation is therefore related primarily to protolith type (troctolite v. gabbro) rather than P–T path. Phase diagrams calculated for a kyanite-rich granulite, a plagioclase-rich non-coronitic granulite, and a plagioclase-rich coronitic granulite (taking into account changes in effective bulk composition during texture development) predict peak conditions of ~800°C, 1.1–1.5 GPa; these conditions do not require invoking an unusually high geothermal gradient. In the coronitic metagabbro, reaction textures formed along the prograde path: Crn–Cpx symplectites grew at the expense of garnet, sapphirine and plagioclase. Peak conditions were followed by isobaric cooling of ~150°C. Hornblende–plagioclase thermometry results for host amphibolite (Hbl+Pl±Crn±Grt±relict Cpx) indicate retrograde conditions of 620–675°C and 0.5–0.8 GPa accompanied by infiltration of H2O-rich fluid. This anticlockwise P–T path differs from an isothermal decompression path previously proposed for these rocks based on the presence of symplectite. Metamorphism of the ophiolitic rocks was driven by closing of the southern Neotethys Ocean, as oceanic lithosphere was obducted (most SE Anatolian ophiolites) or underthrust (Berit meta-ophiolite). This was followed by subduction of a continental margin, driving cooling of the Berit granulite after the thermal peak at depths of ~40 km.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)881-904
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Metamorphic Geology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by NSF grant EAR-1109762, “Continental Dynamics: Central Anatolian Tectonics” (CD-CAT) to D.L. Whitney. We thank E. Toraman for assistance with field work and C. Lefebvre for prior field reconnaissance. We also thank J. Thole at Macalester College for XRF analyses. O. Parlak and S. W. Faryad are thanked for their constructive reviews of this manuscript. D. Robinson is thanked for his editorial handling and helpful comments.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • Anatolia
  • corona
  • mafic granulite
  • meta-ophiolite
  • metagabbro
  • symplectite


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