The Geometry and Evolution of Magma Pathways through Migmatites of the Halls Creek Orogen, Western Australia

N. H. S. Oliver and T. D. Barr
School of Applied Geology, Curtin University, GPO Box U1987, Perth, Australia, 6001
Department of Earth Sciences, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia, 3168

Abstract: In the Halls Creek Orogen of north-western Australia, the distance of melt migration through migmatitic metasedimentary rocks and adjacent metabasites is partly constrained by relationships of leucosomes and small mafic magma veins to rock boundaries and structural elements. Stromatic leucosomes in metasediments are cut by a network of small extensional fractures and shear zones, oriented steeply during melt migration. These shear zones allowed cm- to 10 m-scale migration of felsic magma derived by in situ anatexis. In the adjacent metabasite layers, a similar shear array allowed injection of H2O-undersaturated mafic to ultramafic magma, locally dehydrating and chemically modifying these rocks. However, these mafic to ultramafic veinlets are too mafic to be explained by in situ anatexis, necessitating an external magma source. Also, the lack of felsic veinlets cutting metabasites, and mafic veinlets cutting metasediments, requires that vertical inter-connectivity of these fracture systems was restricted. We propose along-layer migration of mafic to ultramafic magma through the metabasite, assisted by horizontal connection of the shear zones. This migration occurred independantly of metre-scale felsic magma migration in the adjacent metasediments, even though these two deformation-assisted magma migration systems may have been operating at the same time.

Keywords: deformation • magma migration • anatexis • fracture • migmatite

Mineralogical Magazine; February 1997 v. 61; no. 404; p. 3-14; DOI: 10.1180/minmag.1997.061.404.02
© 1997, The Mineralogical Society
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