Oscillatory Zoning in Metamorphic Minerals: An Indicator of Infiltration Metasomatism

B. W. D. Yardley, C. A. Rochelle*, A. C. Barnicoat and G. E. Lloyd
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, U.K.
*Present address: British Geological Survey, Keyworth, Nottingham NG7 2RD.

Abstract: Examples of oscillatory zoning in metamorphic minerals, imaged using a Back-Scattered Electron Detector on the SEM, are described from a series of contrasting environments. These are a prehnite vein sampled by drilling in the Mirvalles geothermal field, Costa Rica, a pyroxene vein developed in a regional metamorphic shear zone in the Yilgarn block, Western Australia, and a bedded metasomatic diopside rock from regionally metamorphosed metasediments in Connemara, Ireland. In each case the formation of oscillatory zoning can be ascribed to mineral growth under supersaturated conditions due to fluid infiltration. Oscillations can be related in the first example to periodic episodes of pressure release and boiling in the geothermal field, but in the regional metamorphic examples actualistic models are harder to define. The development of oscillatory zoning is likely to be a characteristic feature of infiltration metasomatism and can be used as a criterion in the recognition of metasomatic mineral growth in metamorphic rocks outside the vein environment.

Keywords: zoning • metamorphic minerals • infiltration metasomatism

Mineralogical Magazine; September 1991 v. 55; no. 380; p. 357-365; DOI: 10.1180/minmag.1991.055.380.06
© 1991, The Mineralogical Society
Mineralogical Society (www.minersoc.org)