Thermal Aspects of the Origin of Hebridean Tertiary Acid Magmas. I. An Experimental Study of Partial Fusion of Lewisian Gneisses and Torridonian Sediments

R. N. Thompson
Department of Geology, Imperial College of Science and Technology, London SW7 2BP

Abstract: Thermal aspects of the conflicting hypotheses that the acid magmas of the British Tertiary Igneous Province were generated by either fractional crystallization of basic magmas or partial fusion of country rocks around basic intrusions are investigated by combining petrological and experimental data. Sparse large xenoliths (up to 12 m2 outcrops) of Lewisian gneiss occur in the ferrodiorite member of the Marscoite Suite in the Western Redhills Eocene intrusive complex of Skye. Most of the blocks are of granodioritic-tonalitic gneiss which is very similar to the grey gneisses of the northern and southern regions of the mainland Lewisian. One is a two-pyroxene basic granulite, closely resembling in petrography and composition the granulite-facies basic gneisses of the central region of the Scottish mainland Lewisian. During Tertiary thermal metamorphism the xenoliths recrystallized patchily to pyroxene hornfelses and up to 50% of melting occurred in any parts of blocks that were rich in alkali feldspar and quartz. Microprobe analyses of intergrown Ca-rich and Ca-poor pyroxenes in a hornfelsed ultramafic mica pyroxenite lens within a leucogneiss block give a calculated temperature of 950 °C for the Tertiary metamorphism. Melting experiments at 1 kb PH2O were carried out on leucocratic and mesocratic Lewisian gneisses (from the xenoliths), Torridonian arkose and shale. Extensive melting of the leucogneiss and arkose, to peraluminous liquids, occurs within a few degrees above their solidus (715 °C). The silicate liquidus of the leucogneiss is at 930 °C. Microprobe analyses of the glass products of melting experiments (mostly of leucogneiss) show that liquid composition trends during progressive melting are consistent with theoretical equilibria in the synthetic system Ab-Or-An-Qz-H2O. Partial fusion in the Skye Lewisian gneiss xenoliths took place at a water vapour pressure of a few hundred bars, probably under water-undersaturated conditions.

Mineralogical Magazine; June 1981 v. 44; no. 334; p. 161-170; DOI: 10.1180/minmag.1981.044.334.08
© 1981, The Mineralogical Society
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