Water in garnet of garnetite (metarodingite) and eclogite from the Erzgebirge and the Lepontine Alps

Schmädicke E, Gose J (2020)

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2020


DOI: 10.1111/jmg.12554


Little is known about water in nominally anhydrous minerals of orogenic garnet peridotite and enclosed metabasic rocks. This study is focused on peridotite-hosted eclogite and garnetite (metarodingite) from the Erzgebirge (EG), Germany, and the Lepontine Alps (LA), Switzerland. Newly discovered, peridotite-hosted eclogite in the Erzgebirge occurs in the same ultra-high pressure (UHP) unit as gneiss-hosted coesite eclogite, from which it is petrologically indistinguishable. Garnet is present in all mafic and ultramafic high pressure (HP) rocks providing for an ideal proxy to compare the H2O content of the different rock types. Garnet composition is very similar in EG and LA samples and depends on the rock type. Garnet from garnetite, compared to eclogite, contains more CaO (garnetite: 10.5–16.5 wt%; eclogite: 5–11 wt%) and is also characterized by an anomalous REE distribution. In contrast, the infrared (IR) spectra of garnet from both rock types reveal the same OH absorption bands that are also identical to those of previously studied peridotitic garnet from the same locations. Two groups of IR bands, SW I (3,650 ± 10 cm−1) and SW II (3,570–3,630 cm−1) are ascribed to structural hydroxyl (colloquially ‘water’). A third, broad band is present in about half of the analysed garnet domains and related to molecular water (MW) in submicroscopic fluid inclusions. The primary content of structural H2O, preserved in garnet domains without fluid inclusions (and MW bands), varies systematically—depending on both the location and the rock type. Garnet from EG rocks contains more water compared to LA samples, and garnet from garnetite (EG: 121–241 wt.ppm H2O; LA: 23–46 wt.ppm) hosts more water than eclogitic garnet (EG: 84 wt.ppm; LA: 4–11 wt.ppm). Higher contents of structural water (SW) are observed in domains with molecular water, in which the SW II band (being not restricted to HP conditions) is simultaneously enhanced. This implies that fluid influx during decompression not only led to fluid inclusions but also favoured the uptake of secondary SW. The results signify that garnet from all EG and LA samples was originally H2O-undersaturated. Combining the data from eclogite, garnetite and previously studied peridotite, H2O and CaO are positively correlated, pointing to the same degree of H2O-undersaturation at peak metamorphism in all rock types. This ubiquitous water-deficiency cannot be reconciled with the derivation of any of these rocks from the lowermost part of the mantle wedge that was in contact with the subducting plate. This agrees with the previously inferred abyssal origin for part of the rocks from the LA (Cima di Gagnone). A similar origin has to be invoked for the Erzgebirge UHP unit. We suggest that all mafic and ultramafic rocks of this unit not only shared the same metamorphic evolution but also a common protolith origin, most probably on the ocean floor. This inference is supported by the presence of peridotite-hosted garnetite, representing metamorphosed rodingite.

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Schmädicke, E., & Gose, J. (2020). Water in garnet of garnetite (metarodingite) and eclogite from the Erzgebirge and the Lepontine Alps. Journal of Metamorphic Geology. https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jmg.12554


Schmädicke, Esther, and Jürgen Gose. "Water in garnet of garnetite (metarodingite) and eclogite from the Erzgebirge and the Lepontine Alps." Journal of Metamorphic Geology (2020).

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