Contrasting fertility of metapelite vs diorite gneiss to produce leucogranite melts: Example from the Mahalapye Complex, eastern Botswana

H. M. Rajesh, O. G. Safonov, G. A. Belyanin, C. Vorster

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High-grade terranes showing multiple episodes of leucogranite magmatism are ideal to assess the fertility of crustal protoliths. Two episodes of Paleoproterozoic leucogranite magmatism occur in the Mahalapye Complex high-grade terrane, at the northern edge of the Kaapvaal Craton. The older one (leucogranite 1) at ∼2.05 Ga represented by leucosomes, thin veins and dykes is related to the melting of ∼2.06 Ga biotite-bearing diorite gneiss. In comparison, the younger episode (leucogranite 2) at ∼2.03 Ga forms massive bodies. Leucogranite 1 is associated with the migmatitic diorite gneiss and crosscut by the ∼2.04 Ga granodiorite. Leucogranite 2 contains xenoliths of diorite gneiss and granodiorite, as well as inclusions of quartz-poor and quartz-rich metapelites (Bt + Crd + Pl + Kfs + Spl ± Sil ± Grt + Ilm + Qz). Phase equilibria modelling of a representative quartz-poor metapelite indicate that its partial melting occurred at ∼810 °C and ∼4.8 kbar in the presence of aqueous fluid. The peraluminous, ferroan and alkalic composition of the predicted melt is comparable to the chemistry of leucogranite 2. The larger volume of anatectic melt for the estimated P-T condition corresponds to the occurrence of leucogranite 2 as massive bodies. The lower temperature of in-situ anatexis (<750 °C) at a deeper level (∼7.3 kbar) and lack of additional fluid, likely did not generate significant melt fraction during the formation of leucogranite 1. The contrast in the fertility of the two protoliths with respect to production of leucogranite melts was also related to different setting of melting. Melting of diorite gneiss is related to the local influence of mafic dykes and sills, whereas melting of metapelite is related to regional collision. It follows that high pressures, water-deficient regimes and localized heat sources produce limited volumes of partial melt, whereas high temperatures, fluid-present regimes and a large-scale heat source produces higher volumes of melts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104454
JournalJournal of African Earth Sciences
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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