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Abstract

New laboratory experiments using granulite xenoliths support a dual origin for I-type granites as primary and secondary. Primary I-type granites represent fractionated liquids from intermediate magma systems of broadly andesitic composition. Fluid-fluxed melting of igneous rocks that resided in the continental crust generates secondary I-type granites. The former are directly related to subduction, with Cordilleran batholiths as the most characteristic examples. Experiments with lower crust granulite sources, in the presence of water, show that amphibole is formed by a water-fluxed peritectic rehydration melting reaction. Entrainment of only 10% of restites composed of amphibole, pyroxene, plagioclase and magnetite, is sufficient to account for discrepancies in aluminium saturation index and maficity in secondary I-type granites. Lower crust granulite xenoliths, attached to a sanukitoid containing 6 wt% water, have been used in two-layer capsules to test fluid-fluxed melting reactions as the origin of secondary I-type granites. It is proposed that sanukitoid magmas act as water donors that trigger extensive melting of the lower crust, giving rise to granodioritic liquids. Because primary granites are related to coeval subduction, and secondary ones are crustal melts from older subduction-related rocks, the distinction between both I-types is essential in tectonic reconstructions of ancient orogenic belts.

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