Fluids in granulites
Published:February 01, 2011
Jacques L.R. Touret, Jan-Marten Huizenga, 2011. "Fluids in granulites", Origin and Evolution of Precambrian High-Grade Gneiss Terranes, with Special Emphasis on the Limpopo Complex of Southern Africa, Dirk D. van Reenen, Jan D. Kramers, Stephen McCourt, Leonid L. Perchuk
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Since the discovery of CO2 fluid inclusions in granulites, the role of fluids in the formation of these rocks has been widely studied. Owing to the complexity of the tectono-metamorphic history of granulite terrains, fluid inclusion data alone are not sufficient. They need to be integrated with geochemical and mineralogical studies done on the same rock samples. A clear understanding of the tectono-metamorphic history of granulite terranes is also indispensable. The widespread occurrence of CO2 and the later discovered high-salinity aqueous fluid inclusions support the idea that the lower crust underwent fluid flow and that both carbonic and brine fluids played a role in its formation. Both low-H2O-activity fluids play a similar role in destabilizing hydrous mineral phases. Furthermore, experimental studies have shown that brine fluids have a much larger geochemical effect on granulites than initially expected. These fluids are far more mobile in the lower crust compared with CO2 and also have the capability for dissolving numerous minerals. As in the example of the Limpopo Complex, fluid inclusions and many metasomatic features observed in granulite terranes can thus be explained only by large-scale movement of high-salinity aqueous fluids and, to a lesser extent, CO2, implying that lower-crustal granulites are not as dry as previously assumed. Similar brines and CO2-rich fluids are also found in mantle material, most likely derived from deeply subducted supracrustal protoliths.