The compositional evolution of tourmaline from diagenetic to lower amphibolite-facies conditions was investigated in two metasedimentary units (redbed and black shale formations) along a traverse across the Central Alps. With increasing metamorphism, three distinct rim zones grew around detrital tourmaline cores, simultaneously with the development of prismatic neoblasts. Detrital cores and all successive rim zones are preserved in the amphibolite-facies rocks. As indicated by whole-rock data, the B required for tourmaline growth was released from illite and muscovite and was not introduced from external sources.

The studied samples of tourmaline exhibit compositional polarity, i.e., their compositions are different at the opposite ends of the c axis. The compositional difference between the two poles can be expressed by the substitutions Na + Mg ⇌ □ + Al and 2Al ⇌ Ti + Mg, with the positive pole always richer in Al and having more X-site vacancies. Both chemical and optical polar effects are most pronounced in the internal rim zones and become less prominent toward the external zones. The systematic prograde compositional trends are depicted in a vector space for Li-poor tourmaline. At low-grade conditions, the tourmaline composition is clearly controlled by the host-rock composition, but with increasing metamorphic grade the compositions of tourmaline from a variety of rocks converge. The data show that in the Central Alps, increasing metamorphic grade is reflected by increases in Ca/(Ca + Na) and Mg/(Mg + Fe2+), a decrease in Fe3+, and an increase in the occupancy of the X site of tourmaline.

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