Abstract

Carbon- and oxygen-isotope analyses were made of both carbonates and graphites from several Precambrian metamorphic samples from British Columbia. The carbon-isotope data are unusual in that the δ13C values of many marbles are very high, up to 9.9, and the most positive values occur in the sillimanite-zone rocks. The δ13C values of graphite are also relatively high, and the 13C fractionations between calcite and graphite suggest that (1) the rocks attained and retained carbon-isotope equilibrium during metamorphism, and (2) the temperature of graphite equilibration in marbles from the sillimanite zone is 650–690 °C, in agreement with temperatures estimated from mineralogical phase equilibria.Possible precursor carbonates for the 13C-rich marbles in British Columbia include (1) Precambrian carbonate-secreting organisms such as algae that participate in reactions with large kinetic isotope effects, (2) carbonates that exchanged carbon isotopes with a large reservoir of organic material prior to metamorphism, and (3) travertines.

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