Abstract

New monazite U-Pb geochronological data from the Everest region suggest that ∼20–25 m.y. elapsed between the initial India-Asia collision and kyanite-sillimanite–grade metamorphism. Our results indicate a two-phase metamorphic history, with peak Barrovian metamorphism at 32.2 ± 0.4 Ma and a later high-temperature, low-pressure event (620 °C, 4 kbar) at 22.7 ± 0.2 Ma. Emplacement and crystallization of the Everest granite subsequently occurred at 20.5–21.3 Ma. The monazite crystallization ages that differ by 10 m.y. are recorded in two structurally adjacent rocks of different lithology, which have the same postcollisional pressure-temperature history. Scanning electron microscopy reveals that the younger monazite is elaborately shaped and grew in close association with apatite at grain boundaries and triple junctions, suggesting that growth was stimulated by a change in the fluid regime. The older monazite is euhedral, is not associated with apatite, and is commonly armored within silicate minerals. During the low-pressure metamorphic event, the armoring protected the older monazites, and a lack of excess apatite in this sample prevented new growth. Textural relationships suggest that apatite is one of the necessary monazite-producing reactants, and spots within monazite that are rich in Ca, Fe, Al, and Si suggest that allanite acted as a preexisting rare earth element host. We propose a simplified reaction for monazite crystallization based on this evidence.

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