Abstract

Ultrahigh-temperature (UHT) granulites of the central Highland Complex, Sri Lanka, underwent some of the highest known peak temperatures of crustal metamorphism. Zircon and monazite U-Pb systems in granulites near Kandy, the highest grade region (∼1050 °C; 0.9 GPa), preserve both a record of the timing of prograde and retrograde phases of UHT metamorphism and evidence for the ages of older protolith components. Zircon grains from a quartz-saturated granulite containing relics of the peak UHT assemblage have remnant detrital cores with dates of ca. 2.5–0.83 Ga. Date clusters of ca. 1.7 and 1.04–0.83 Ga record episodes of zircon growth in the source region of the protolith sediment. Two generations of overgrowths with contrasting Th/U record metamorphic zircon growth at 569 ± 5 and 551 ± 7 Ma, probably in the absence and presence of monazite, respectively. The age of coexisting metamorphic monazite (547 ± 7 Ma) is indistinguishable from that of the younger, low-Th/U zircon overgrowths. Zircon from a quartz-undersaturated monazite-absent UHT granulite with a mainly retrograde assemblage is mostly metamorphic (551 ± 5 Ma). The ca. 570 Ma zircon overgrowths in the quartz-saturated granulite probably record partial melting just before or at the metamorphic peak. The ca. 550 Ma zircon in both rocks, and the ca. 550 Ma monazite in the quartz-saturated sample, record post-peak isothermal decompression. A possible model for this pressure-temperature-time evolution is ultrahot collisional orogeny during the assembly of Gondwana, locally superheated by basaltic underplating, followed by fast extensional exhumation.

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