Metamorphic evolution of the central Southern Cross Province, Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia

H.J. Dalstra, J.R. Ridley, E.J.M. Bloem, David Groves

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Two contrasting styles of metamorphism are preserved in the central Southern Cross Province. An early, low-grade and low-strain event prevailed in the central parts of the Marda greenstone belt and was broadly synchronous with the first major folding event (D-1) in the region. Mineral assemblages similar to those encountered in sea-floor alteration are indicative of mostly prehnite-pumpellyite facies conditions, but locally actinolite-bearing assemblages suggest conditions up to mid-greenschist facies. Geothermobarometry indicates that peak metamorphic conditions were of the order of 250-300 degrees C at pressures below 180 MPa in the prehnite-pumpellyite facies, but may have been as high as 400 degrees C at 220 MPa in the greenschist facies. A later, higher grade, high-strain metamorphic event was largely confined to the margins of the greenstone belts. Mineral assemblages and geothermobarometry suggest conditions from upper greenschist facies at P-T conditions of about 500 degrees C and 220 MPa to upper amphibolite facies at 670 degrees C and 400 MPa. Critical mineral reactions in metapelitic rocks suggest clockwise P-T paths. Metamorphism was diachronous across the metamorphic domains. Peak metamorphic conditions were reached relatively early in the low-grade terrains, but outlasted most of the deformation in the higher grade terrains. Early metamorphism is interpreted to be a low-strain, ocean-floor-style alteration event in a basin with high heat flow. In contrast, differential uplift of the granitoids and greenstones, with conductive heat input from the granitoids into the greenstones, is the preferred explanation for the distribution and timing of the high-strain metamorphism in this region.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)765-784
JournalAustralian Journal of Earth Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 1999


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