Abstract

Accessory tourmaline in metasediments from the Sinai crystalline basement exhibits textural and chemical signatures that relate to the evolution of regional metamorphism and deformation during the Pan-African orogeny and testifies to different P-T path segments. Tourmaline inclusions in various porphyroblasts were formed during the prograde phase of metamorphism; acicular to prismatic crystals in the matrix, oriented sub-parallel to, and enveloped by, the main foliation crystallized syntectonically under prograde and peak metamorphic conditions; tourmaline cross-cutting the main foliation may have formed just after the peak or during the retrograde phase of metamorphism. Some of the cores in tourmaline crystals, showing different colours, are interpreted as former detrital grains. The abundance of tourmaline decreases with increasing peak metamorphic conditions. The tourmaline investigated belongs to the schorl–dravitess group, generally with XMg of 0.42–0.73 and XCa = Ca/(Ca+Na+K+□) of 0.02–0.24, typical of tourmalines in metapelites and metapsammites; whereas detrital cores have been derived from various sources, including former tourmaline-quartz and pre-existing high-metamorphic rocks. Tourmaline of the Sinai metasediments was formed during metamorphism of the sedimentary precursors, essentially in a closed system, where clay minerals and organic matter, together with detrital tourmaline, served as the source of boron. Although a metamorphic facies should be defined by characteristic mineral assemblages present in metamorphic rocks, tourmaline chemistry is a good monitor of P-T conditions in the metapelites and semi-metapelites investigated, showing an increase in XMg with increasing metamorphic grade, where XMgtur = 0.60 distinguishes between greenschist and lower-amphibolite facies, while XturMg = 0.65 could distinguish lower- from middle- to upper-amphibolite facies. The results of tourmaline-biotite geothermometry compare well with our former temperature estimates using conventional geothermometry and phase-diagram modelling.

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