Interaction of aqueous fluids with calcareous metasediments during high-T, low-P regional metamorphism in the Qadda area, southern Arabian Shield

G. T R Droop, I. Y. Al-Filali

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    The S.W. Nabitah Mobile Belt, Saudi Arabia, contains a Proterozoic island-arc complex. In the Qadda area, the metavolcanic-dominated supracrustal sequence records amphibolite facies regional metamorphism of high-T, low-P type. Calcsilicate rocks and aluminous dolomitic marbles within the supracrustal sequence have been studied in detail to refine estimates of peak metamorphic P-T conditions and assess the role of fluids during prograde and retrograde metamorphism. Fluid-independent thermobarometers (including the calcite-dolomite thermometer and P-sensitive equilibria involving grossular, wollastonite, anorthite, meionite, quartz and calcite) yield peak P-T conditions of c. 650-660 °C, 4 kbar, both higher than previous estimates, giving a revised average thermal gradient of c. 45 °C km-1. The close match between the peak temperatures implied by calcite-dolomite thermometry and those recorded by univariant devolatilization equilibria suggests that the calcareous rocks were fluid-bearing during late-prograde and peak metamorphic stages. These fluids were essentially binary H2O-CO2 mixtures with low NaCl and HF concentrations. Most were H2O-rich, with XCO2 between 0.02 and 0.2, but values of c. 0.6 are recorded by two samples. High modal abundances of the solid products of decarbonation reactions (e.g. c. 10-50% wollastonite) in many of the rocks that record low-XCO2 equilibrium fluids implies infiltration of significant quantities of externally derived aqueous fluid during late-prograde metamorphism, but not enough to exhaust the buffering capacity of the rocks. Calculated minimum time-integrated fluid-to-rock ratios of five wollastonite-bearing calcsilicate rocks range from 0.7±0.22 to 1.39±0.46 (1σ); those of six marbles range from c. 0 to 4±1.4. The latter variation occurs on a metrescale, implying focusing of fluid flow. Diopside-rich rocks record fluid-to-rock ratios of up to 88±48. Penetrative wollastonite lineations indicate a temporal link between infiltration and distributed ductile deformation. Infiltrating fluids were probably derived both from the prograde dehydration of adjacent metabasalts and metatuffs and from crystallization of voluminous pretectonic granitoid intrusions. In general, fluid-to-rock ratios deduced for the metavolcanic-dominated Qadda area are similar to those recorded by rocks in the metasediment-dominated terrane of N. New England. The occurrence of post-tectonic retrograde hydration textures in both carbonate-bearing and carbonate-free rocks otherwise lacking hydrous minerals testifies to infiltration of aqueous fluids during retrograde metamorphism in the absence of penetrative deformation. Minimum fluid-to-rock ratios calculated for secondary grossular reaction rims in some calcsilicates are c. 0.04. Later patchy hydration of scapolite probably utilized static, pore-filling fluids remaining after the early retrograde infiltration.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)613-634
    Number of pages21
    JournalJournal of Metamorphic Geology
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 1996


    • Calcsilicate rocks
    • Infiltration
    • Marbles
    • Metamorphic fluids
    • Nabitah Mobile Belt


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