Abstract

The Stolzburg domain to the south of the Barberton Greenstone Belt preserves evidence for a 3.23 Ga subduction–collision tectonic event. Garnet amphibolite greenstone remnants have previously yielded conventional thermobarometric P-T estimates of 12 to 15 kbar at 600 to 650°C, 8 to 11 kbar at 650 to 700°C and 7.5 to 8.5 kbar at 560 to 640°C from, respectively, the Inyoni shear zone along the western margin of the Stolzburg domain, the central part of the domain and from the Tjakastad schist belt on the boundary with the main body of the Barberton Greenstone Belt. Pseudosection calculations constrain the stability conditions of the peak metamorphic assemblages at the three localities to be 10 kbar at 675 to 690°C, ~10 kbar at 700°C and ~7 and 10 kbar at 660°C respectively. Although it is possible that the peak metamorphic assemblages may be displaced to somewhat lower conditions if Mn is considered in the calculations, these estimates are generally in good agreement with existing estimates, and confirm that the Stolzburg domain exposes an intact mid- to lower-crustal section that was metamorphosed in a relatively cool environment at 3.23 Ga. Our results do not support previously documented higher-pressure conditions, and we contend that the mineral assemblages used to derive these estimates can equally reflect the conditions determined here. The presence of albite-epidote inclusion assemblages in garnet indicates that the likely prograde path involved a component of heating at depth, which is typical of subduction–collision environments and markedly different from the heating–burial paths expected for sinking greenstones in a vertical tectonic model.

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