Local occurrences of coesite- and diamond-bearing rocks in the central Erzgebirge (northwestern Bohemian Massif, Germany) reveal ultrahigh-pressure (UHP) metamorphic conditions during the Variscan orogeny. Although UHP metamorphism supposedly affected a wider area, implying that rocks that equilibrated under UHP conditions occur dispersed in large volumes of high-pressure country-rock gneisses, mineralogical evidence is scarce. Here we have applied the new concept of capturing the distribution and characteristics of UHP rocks by analyzing inclusions in detrital garnet. Out of 700 inclusion-bearing garnets from seven modern sand samples from creeks draining the UHP area around the Saidenbach reservoir, we detected 26 garnets containing 46 mainly monomineralic coesite inclusions and 22 garnets containing 41 diamond inclusions. Combining these results with geochemical classification of the host garnets, we show (1) that coesite-bearing rocks are common and comprise eclogites as well as felsic gneisses, (2) that small inclusion size is a necessary precondition for the preservation of monomineralic coesite, and (3) for the first time, that diamond-bearing crustal rocks can be detected by analyzing the detrital record. Our results highlight the potential of this novel application of sedimentary provenance tools to UHP research, and the necessity of looking at the micrometer scale to find evidence in the form of preserved UHP minerals.

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