In situ melt generation in anatectic migmatites and the role of strain in preferentially inducing melting
MetadataShow full item record
Deformation and partial melting have long been recognized to occur together, but differentiating which actually occurred first has remained enigmatic. Prevailing theories suggest that partial melting typically occurs first, and deformation is localized into melt-rich areas because they are rheologically weak. However, evidence from three different areas, suggests the role of strain has been underestimated in localizing partial melting. The Wet Mountains of central Colorado provide evidence for synchronous partial melting and deformation, with each process enhancing the other. Throughout the Wet Mountains, deformation is concentrated in areas where melt producing reactions occurred, and melt appears to be localized along deformation-related features. Melt microstructures present within the Wet Mountains correlate well with crustal-scale plutons and magmatic bodies and provide a proxy for crustal-scale melt flow. Granitic gneisses from the Llano Uplift, central Texas, provide evidence for partial melting occurring within small-scale shear zones and surrounding country rocks, synchronously. In the field, shear zones appear to contain former melt, whereas the country rock does not provide macroscopic evidence for partial melting. However, detailed microstructural investigation of shear zones and country rocks indicates the same density of melt microstructures, in both rock types. Melt microstructures are important for understanding the full melting history of a rock and without detailed structural and petrographic analysis, erroneous conclusions may be reached. Granulite-facies migmatites of the Albany-Fraser Orogen, southwestern Australia, have undergone partial melting, synchronous with three phases of bidirectional extension. Four major groups of leucosomes, including: foliation-parallel, cross-cutting, boudin neck and jumbled channelway leucosomes and late pegmatites were analyzed via whole-rock geochemistry, and there is evidence for fluid-saturated and -undersaturated biotite- and amphibole-dehydration melting. Migmatites from these three locations contain pseudomorphs of melt along subgrain and grain boundaries, areas of high dislocation density, in quartz and plagioclase. For these rocks that involve multicomponent systems, the primary cause for preferential melting in high strain locations is enhanced diffusion rates along the subgrain boundary because of pipe diffusion or water associated with dislocations.