Abstract

Coesite (the dense, high-pressure polymorph of quartz) occurs as inclusions in mechanically strong minerals in deeply subducted, metamorphosed crustal rocks in a number of Eurasian collisional orogens. It is the primary indicator mineral of ultrahigh-pressure (P) metamorphism. Whereas some coesite inclusions are untransformed, most exhibit partial transformation to palisade quartz and a concomitant increase in volume (resulting in rupture and radial fracturing of the host grain). Coesite can be identified by its diagnostic Raman spectrum; the strongest band (at atmospheric pressure, room temperature) is at 521 cm−1. Laser Raman microspectroscopic analyses of coesite inclusions within garnet and zircon in ultrahigh-P metamorphic rocks from Kazakhstan, Indonesia, and China reveal consistent differences in the Raman spectra of (1) partially transformed coesite + quartz (main Raman band at 521 cm−1) and (2) untransformed monomineralic coesite grains (main band at 525–526 cm−1). Applying the room-temperature calibration of pressure dependence of the coesite Raman spectrum, we conclude that the latter coesite inclusions are subject to a remarkable pressure differential of 19–23 kbar with the host grains, and are still undergoing pressure-temperature conditions on or close to the quartz-coesite equilibrium boundary.

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