Nature and Origin of Meladiorite Layers in Northern Guernsey, Channel Islands

A. C. Bishop and W. J. French
Department of Mineralogy, British Museum (Natural History), London SW7 5BD
Department of Geological Sciences, Queen Mary College, London E1 4NS

Abstract: The Cadomian igneous complex of N. Guernsey includes gabbro, diorite, granodiorite, and adamellite. The gabbro is layered, shows variations in colour index and texture, contains abundant amphibole, and is cut by the diorites. The diorites show little variation in mineral compositions despite considerable variation in modal proportions. They contain numerous thin and roughly parallel veins of leucodiorite and granodiorite, and layers of meladiorite occur in several places within the veined diorites. These meladiorites, previously interpreted as separate intrusions, form individual layers from a few centimetres to several metres thick which can be traced for some tens of metres along strike. The upper surfaces of the meladiorites are planar but the lower tend to be indented and irregular. The layers thin out laterally and usually pass into the host diorite by way of a zone containing dark spots and both the spots and the meladiorite layers are composed of actinolitic hornblende and Mg-biotite.

Chemical and petrographic data are presented for most of the rocks and minerals especially for the meladiorites and their host, the veined diorites. The rock chemistry and particularly the compositions of the amphiboles and micas of the meladiorites and the mafic spots, taken together with the presence of unmixing lamellae in the amphibole and the details of the field relationships, indicate that the rocks tended to equilibrium under subsolidus conditions and are most probably of metasomatic origin.

Acid pipes and pegmatites occur within and are restricted to the meladiorites. The forms of the pipes were previously taken to indicate that they were magmatic at the same time as the meladiorites. The metasomatic origin for the meladiorites proposed here calls into question this magmatic interpretation and it is suggested that the pipe formation is connected with the metasomatic process. It is envisaged that the alteration of the veined diorites took place under conditions in which high gas pressures allowed acidic melt to be produced at temperatures only a little above the solidus of the diorites. The thermal impulse for this recrystallization may have resulted from the polyphase intrusive history of the complex as a whole.

Mineralogical Magazine; September 1982 v. 46; no. 340; p. 301-321; DOI: 10.1180/minmag.1982.046.340.03
© 1982, The Mineralogical Society
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