Abstract

Strongly deformed potassium feldspar–rich dikes are widely distributed in the northern part of the Sulu ultrahigh-pressure (UHP) metamorphic terrane, eastern China. The fact that the crystallization ages of these dikes overlap with the age of peak UHP metamorphic conditions implies the presence of melt during metamorphism. Sr isotopic ratios of the dikes are compatible with their origin as partial melts of the dominant felsic Sulu gneiss. Partial melting may be the key to solving several unusual features of the Sulu and other UHP terranes, such as the almost complete lack of mineralogical evidence for UHP conditions and the limited growth of zircon during UHP conditions in the dominant felsic gneiss. In addition, because partial melting will cause a drastic reduction in the strength of the UHP gneisses, the most likely exhumation mechanism is diapiric rise of a low-viscosity, partially molten mass containing entrained blocks of eclogite, and not a thin sheet as usually proposed.

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