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Rutile occurrence and trace element behavior in medium-grade metasedimentary rocks: example from the Erzgebirge, Germany

Journal article
Authors G. L. Luvizotto
Thomas Zack
S. Triebold
H. von Eynatten
Published in Mineralogy and Petrology
Volume 97
Issue 3-4
Pages 233-249
ISSN 0930-0708
Publication year 2009
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Pages 233-249
Language en
Keywords high-pressure, quantitative provenance, partition-coefficients, detrital rutile, silicate melts, temperature, thermometry, ta, nb, dependence
Subject categories Earth and Related Environmental Sciences, Geochemistry, Geology, Solid earth geology and petrology


Metamorphic textures in medium-grade (similar to 500-550A degrees C) metasedimentary rocks from the Erzgebirge give evidence of prograde rutile crystallization from ilmenite. Newly-crystallized grains occur as rutile-rich polycrystalline aggregates that pseudomorph the shape of the ilmenites. In-situ trace element data (EMP and SIMS) show that rutiles from the higher-grade samples record large scatter in Nb content and have Nb/Ti ratios higher than coexisting ilmenite. This behavior can be predicted using prograde rutile crystallization from ilmenite and indicates that rutiles are reequilibrating their chemistry with remaining ilmenites. On the contrary, rutiles from the lowest grade samples (similar to 480A degrees C) have Nb/Ti ratios that are similar to the ones in ilmenite. Hence, rutiles from these samples did not equilibrate their chemistry with remaining ilmenites. Our data suggest that temperature may be one of the main factors determining whether or not the elements are able to diffuse between the phases and, therefore, reequilibrate. Newly-crystallized rutiles yield temperatures (from similar to 500 to 630A degrees C, Zr-in-rutile thermometry) that are in agreement with the metamorphic conditions previously determined for the studied rocks. In quartzites from the medium-grade domain (similar to 530A degrees C), inherited detrital rutile grains are detected. They are identified by their distinct chemical composition (high Zr and Nb contents) and textures (single grains surrounded by fine grained ilmenites). Preliminary calculation, based on grain size distribution of rutile in medium-grade metapelites and quartzites that occur in the studied area, show that rutiles derived from quartzites can be anticipated to dominate the detrital rutile population, even if quartzites are a minor component of the exposure.

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