4 years ago

Constraints from geochemistry and oxygen isotopes for the hydrothermal origin of orthoamphibole mafic gneiss in the New Jersey Highlands, north-central Appalachians, USA

Rare exposures of orthoamphibole mafic (Oam) gneiss of Mesoproterozoic age in the north-central Appalachians are confined to the northwestern New Jersey Highlands where they form thin lens-shaped bodies composed of gedrite and sparse anthophyllite, oligoclase (An13-An20), biotite, magnetite, and local fluorapatite, rutile, and ilmenite. The gneiss is penetratively foliated and has sharp, conformable contacts against enclosing supracrustal paragneiss and marble. Orthoamphibole mafic gneiss is characterized by low SiO2 (48 ± 2.5 wt.%), CaO (1.9 ± 1.3 wt.%), and high Al2O3 (18 ± 1.2 wt.%), Fe2O3 (10.5 ± 1.6 wt.%), and MgO (12 ± 2.3 wt.%). Trace element abundances overlap those of unaltered amphibolites in the study area and, coupled with δ18O values of 9.45 ± 0.6‰ (VSMOW) from gedrite separates, support an origin from a basalt protolith. The geochemical and isotopic data are consistent with the formation of Oam gneiss through sea floor hydrothermal alteration of basalt at low temperature of 150-200 oC. Mass-balance calculations indicate gains during alteration mainly in MgO and Al2O3 and losses in CaO, Sr, and light rare earth elements. Our results are compatible with the pre-metamorphic alteration of the basalt protoliths through chloritization and plagioclase dissolution that produced a Mg-rich and Ca-poor rock. Subsequent metamorphism of this chlorite-rich rock to the current mineral assemblage of Oam gneiss took place at ca. 1045 Ma, during the Ottawan phase of the Grenvillian Orogeny. The close spatial association in the study area of Oam gneiss bodies and sulfide occurrences suggests an affinity to the style of mineralization associated with volcanogenic massive sulfide (VMS)-type deposits.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0024493717303547

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