U-Pb monazite ages of the Kabanga mafic-ultramafic intrusions and contact aureoles, central Africa: Geochronological and tectonic implications

Jian Wei Zi, Birger Rasmussen, Janet R. Muhling, Wolfgang D. Maier, Ian R. Fletcher

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Mafic-ultramafic rocks of the Kabanga-Musongati alignment in the East African nickel belt occur as Bushveld-type layered intrusions emplaced in metasedimentary sequences. The age of the mafic-ultramafic intrusions remains poorly constrained, though they are regarded to be part of ca. 1375 Ma bimodal magmatism dominated by voluminous S-type granites. In this study, we investigated igneous monazite and zircon from a differentiated layered intrusion and metamorphic monazite from the contact aureole. The monazite shows contrasting crystal morphology, chemical composition, and U-Pb ages. Monazite that formed by contact metamorphism in response to emplacement of mafic-ultramafic melts is characterized by extremely high Th and U and yielded a weighted mean 207Pb/206Pb age of 1402 ± 9 Ma, which is in agreement with dates from the igneous monazite and zircon. The ages indicate that the intrusion of ultramafic melts was substantially earlier (by ~25 m.y., 95% confidence) than the prevailing S-type granites, calling for a reappraisal of the previously suggested model of coeval, bimodal magmatism. Monazite in the metapelitic rocks also records two younger growth events at ca. 1375 Ma and ca. 990 Ma, coeval with metamorphism during emplacement of S-type granites and tin-bearing granites, respectively. In conjunction with available geologic evidence, we propose that the Kabanga-Musongati mafic-ultramafic intrusions likely heralded a structurally controlled thermal anomaly related to Nuna breakup, which culminated during the ca. 1375 Ma Kibaran event, manifested as extensive intracrustal melting in the adjoining Karagwe-Ankole belt, producing voluminous S-type granites. The Grenvillian-aged (ca. 990 Ma) tin-bearing granite and related Sn mineralization appear to be the far-field record of tectonothermal events associated with collision along the Irumide belt during Rodinia assembly. Since monazite is a ubiquitous trace phase in pelitic sedimentary rocks, in contact aureoles of mafic-ultramafic intrusions, and in regional metamorphic belts, our study highlights the potential of using metamorphic monazite to determine ages of mafic-ultramafic intrusions, and to reconstruct postemplacement metamorphic history of the host terranes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1857-1870
Number of pages14
JournalBulletin of the Geological Society of America
Issue number11-12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


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