Abstract

Emerald mineralization is found within 0.1- to 1-m-thick hydrothermal veins and granitic pegmatites cutting amphibolite within the Nanga Parbat-Haramosh massif, in northern Pakistan. The amphibolite forms a sill-like body within garnet-mica schist, and both are part of a regional layered gneiss unit of Proterozoic (?) age. The 40 Ar/ 39 Ar data for muscovite from a pegmatite yield a plateau age of 9.13+ or -0.04 Ma. Muscovite from mica schist and hornblende from amphibolite yield disturbed spectra with interpreted ages of 9 to 10 Ma and more than 225 Ma, respectively, which indicate that peak Tertiary metamorphism reached 325 to 550 degrees C prior to 10 Ma. Pegmatites were emplaced after peak metamorphism during this interval and are older than pegmatites farther south in the massif. At Khaltaro, simply zoned albite-rich miarolitic pegmatites and hydrothermal veins containing various proportions of quartz, albite, tourmaline, muscovite, and beryl are associated with a 1- to 3-m-thick heterogeneous leucogranite sill, that is locally albitized. The pegmatites likely crystallized at 650 to 600 degrees C at pressures of less than 2 kbar. Crystals of emerald form within thin (<30 cm) veins of quartz and tourmaline-albite, and more rarely in pegmatite, near the contacts with altered amphibolite. The emerald-green coloration is produced by Cr and Fe. The Cr and total Fe contents, expressed as Cr 2 O 3 , and Fe 2 O 3 , respectively, decrease systematically from emerald (>0.20, 0.54-0.89 wt%), to pale blue beryl (< or =0.07, 0.10-0.63%), to colorless beryl (<0.07, 0.07-0.28%). The amphibolite is metasomatized in less than 20-cm-wide selvages that are symmetrically zoned around veins or pegmatites. A sporadic inner zone containing F-rich biotite, tourmaline, and fluorite, with local albite, muscovite, quartz, and rare beryl, gives way to an intermediate zone containing biotite and fluorite with local plagioclase and quartz, and to an outer zone of amphibolite containing sparse biotite and local quartz. The inner and intermediate zones experienced gains of K, H, F, B, Li, Rb, Cs, Be, Ta, Nb, As, Y and Sr, and losses of Si, Mg, Ca, Fe, Cr, V and Sc. The outer alteration zone has gained F, Li, Rb, Cs, and As. Oxygen isotope analyses of igneous and hydrothermal minerals indicate that a single fluid of magmatic origin with delta 18 OH 2 O = 8 per mil produced the pegmatite-vein system and hydrothermal alteration at temperatures between 550 and 400 degrees C. The formation of emerald result from introduction of HF-rich magmatic-hydrothermal fluids into the amphibolite, which caused hydrogen ion metasomatism and released Cr and Fe into the pegmatite-vein system.

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