Abstract

Using as a case study a granulite from the Kerala Khondalite Belt, India, we show that a former anatectic melt can be preserved as tiny (<25 μm) droplets within refractory minerals, in this case garnet. The melt is either fully crystallized as a Qtz-Ab-Kfs-Bt cryptocrystalline aggregate (“nanogranite”), or completely glassy in inclusions <15 μm. Both nanogranite and glassy inclusions have a peraluminous, ultrapotassic granitic composition that, in this case, does not correspond to a “minimum melt” and points to high melting temperatures, in agreement with the ultrahigh-temperature origin of the rock. This discovery indicates that peritectic minerals, growing during incongruent melting reactions, act as hosts for inclusions of anatectic melt, and that in the general case of slow cooling of the crust these inclusions will occur as nanogranite. Exceptionally, in the smallest inclusions, glass may be present due to inhibition of crystallization. Our results extend the frontiers of petrological and geochemical research in crustal melting, as the composition of natural anatectic melts can be directly analyzed rather than assumed.

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