Abstract

The contact aureole at the eastern margin of the South Mountain Batholith (Halifax Pluton) underlies most of the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Halifax Group in the study area includes two lithological units, the Cunard and Bluestone formations. Before intrusion, both had been affected by greenschist facies regional metamorphism and deformed into northeast–southwest-trending, regional upright folds associated with a strong slaty cleavage. Contact metamorphic isograds trend obliquely across the Halifax peninsula, at a high angle to regional structural trends. At 2.5–3 km from the intrusive contact, sparse cordierite spots mark the outer limit of the contact aureole. The biotite-in isograd is marked by the development of biotite within chlorite + muscovite stacks inherited from regional metamorphism. Pyrrhotite is the dominant sulphide mineral throughout the contact aureole. With increasing metamorphic grade, assemblages in both units are marked by increasing modal abundance of cordierite and biotite, with K-feldspar variably developed within ca. 600 m of the contact. However, there is a marked difference in the distribution and appearance of andalusite between the two units. In aluminous pelites of the Cunard formation, idioblastic chiastolite appears before biotite more than 1500 m from the contact. In the less aluminous Bluestone formation, andalusite is present only within ca. 500 m of the contact, where it forms xenoblastic, spongy crystals. In both units, the assemblage andalusite + biotite + K-feldspar ± cordierite is developed near the contact, with local fibrolite and evidence of incipient partial melting. Petrographic constraints suggest pressure–temperature conditions at the contact of ca. 2.5–3.0 kbar (1 kbar = 100 MPa) at ca. 650 °C.

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