Abstract

The carbon and oxygen systematics of rocks north of Stonehaven, Scotland were studied to provide new constraints on the nature and timing of metamorphic and post‐metamorphic fluid infiltration. Carbon and oxygen isotopic data were collected from carbonated spilites and carbonate‐bearing veins in the Highland Boundary Fault, from Dalradian metacarbonate layers and pervasively carbonated schists, and from three generations of carbonate‐bearing veins, and a quartz porphyry dyke within the Dalradian. Isotopic evidence for syn‐metamorphic fluid infiltration in the Dalradian is preserved in quartz–calcite veins in the upper chlorite zone and in staurolite zone metacarbonates. δ18O values for coexisting quartz (δ18Oquartz= 13.6‰) and calcite (δ18Ocalcite= 11.6‰) in a vein from the upper chlorite zone are consistent with precipitation of both minerals from a single fluid at c. 375°C. Oxygen isotopic data from staurolite zone metacarbonate layers (δ18Ocalcite= 10.4 to 12.9‰) suggest major isotopic exchange with an external fluid equilibrated with a quartzo‐feldspathic reservoir, such as the Dalradian metasediments, at metamorphic temperatures. Low, negative carbon isotope data from these metacarbonate layers (δ13Ccalcite= −12.4 to −17.7‰) may indicate a component of oxidized organic material in the infiltrating fluid. Post‐metamorphic fluids derived from or equilibrated with a high‐temperature silicate reservoir such as felsic igneous rocks were responsible for precipitation of post‐metamorphic vein carbonate, carbonation of pelitic schists, and alteration of metamorphic feldspar porphyroblasts from Barrow’s famous spotted chloritoid schists in an area geographically associated with several carbonated quartz porphyry dykes. Some veins in the biotite and garnet zones have been conduits for multiple generations of fluid flow. Quartz from this generation of veins preserves a metamorphic isotopic signature (δ18Oquartz= 11.2 to 13.2‰) whereas dolomite and calcite are considered to be post‐metamorphic based on textural evidence and isotopic data indicating extreme oxygen isotopic disequilibrium between vein quartz and carbonate minerals (δ18Odolomite= 23.7 to 24.2‰, δ18Ocalcite= 25.3‰, δ18Oquartz= 11.2 to 13.2‰). Variably depleted carbon isotopes from carbonate minerals in these veins (δ13Cdolomite= −8.1 to −13.4‰, δ13Ccalcite= −12.2‰) may reflect input of oxidized organic material in the mineralizing fluid. Isotopic data from carbonate veins and variably carbonated spilites from the Highland Boundary Fault are consistent with hydrothermal alteration of basalts by seawater, which had its carbon isotope systematics modified by addition of magmatic CO2 and/or oxidation of organic carbon. Such alteration may have occurred on the seafloor or during emplacement in the Highland Boundary Fault.

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