|Title:||Formation of monazite via prograde metamorphic reactions among common silicates: Implications for age determinations|
|Authors:||M.J. Kohn, and M.A. Malloy|
|Publication:||Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta., v. 68, p. 101‐113.|
|Publish Date:||Jan 2004|
Three lines of evidence from schists of the Great Smoky Mountains, NC, indicate that isogradic monazite growth occurred at the staurolite‐in isograd at ⁓600°C: (1) Monazite is virtually absent below the staurolite‐in isograd, but is ubiquitous (several hundred grains per thin section) in staurolite‐ and kyanite‐grade rocks. (2) Many monazite grains are spatially associated with biotite coronas around garnets, formed via the reaction Garnet + Chlorite + Muscovite = Biotite + Plagioclase + Staurolite + H2O. (3) Garnets contain high‐Y annuli that result from prograde dissolution of garnet via the staurolite‐in reaction, followed by regrowth, and rare monazite inclusions occur immediately outside the annulus and in the matrix, but not in the garnet core. Larger monazite grains also exhibit quasi‐continuous Th zoning with high Th cores and low Th rims, consistent with monazite growth via a single reaction and fractional crystallization during prograde growth. Common silicates may host sufficient P and LREEs that reactions among them can produce observable LREE phosphate. Specifically phosphorus contents of garnet and plagioclase are hundreds of parts per million, and dissolution of garnet and recrystallization of plagioclase could form thousands of phosphate grains several micrometers in diameter per thin section. LREEs may be more limiting, but sheet silicates and plagioclase can contain tens to ⁓100 (?) ppm LREE, so recrystallization of these silicates to lower LREE contents could produce hundreds of grains of monazite per thin section. Monazite ages, determined via electron and ion microprobes, are ⁓400 Ma, directly linking prograde Barrovian metamorphism of the Western Blue Ridge with the ”Acadian” orogeny, in contrast to previous interpretations that metamorphism was ”Taconian” (⁓450 Ma). Interpretation of ages from metamorphic monazite grains will require prior chemical characterization and identification of relevant monazite‐forming reactions, including reactions previously viewed as involving solely common silicates.