Metamorphic charnockite in contact aureoles around intrusive enderbite from Natal, South Africa

Alfons M. Van Den Kerkhof, Geoffrey H. Grantham

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26 Citations (Scopus)


In the Port Edward area of southern Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa, charnockitic aureoles up to 10 m in width in the normally garnetiferous Nicholson's Point Granite, are developed adjacent to intrusive contacts with the Port Edward Enderbite and anhydrous pegmatitic veins. Mineralogical differences between the country rock and charnockitic aureole suggest that the dehydration reaction Bt + Qtz → Opx + Kfs + H2O and the reaction of Grt + Qtz → Opx + P1 were responsible for the charnockitization. The compositions of fluid inclusions show systematic variation with: (1) the Port Edward Enderbite being dominated by CO2 and N2 fluid inclusions; (2) the non-charnockitized granite by saline aqueous inclusions with 18-23 Eq Wt% NaCl; (3) the charnockitic aureoles by low-salinity and pure water inclusions (<7 EqWt% NaCl); (4) the pegmatites by aqueous inclusions of various salinity with minor CO2. As a result of the thermal event the homogenization temperatures of the inclusions in charnockite show a much larger range (up to 390 °C) compared to the fluid inclusions in granite (mostly <250 °C). Contrary to fluid-controlled charnockitization (brines, CO2) which may have taken place along shear zones away from the intrusive body, the present 'proximal' charnockitized granite formed directly at the contact with enderbite. The inclusions indicate contact metamorphism induced by the intrusion of 'dry' enderbitic magma into 'wet' granite resulting in local dehydration. This was confirmed by cathodoluminescence microscopy showing textures indicative for the local reduction of structural water in the charnockite quartz. Two-pyroxene thermometry on the Port Edward Enderbite suggests intrusion at temperatures of ~1000-1050 °C into country rock with temperature of <700 °C. The temperature of aureole formation must have been between ~700 °C (breakdown of pyrite to form pyrrhotite) and ~1000 °C. Charnockitization was probably controlled largely by heat related to anhydrous intrusions causing dehydration reactions and resulting in the release and subsequent trapping of dehydration fluids. The salinity of the metamorphic fluid in the contact zones is supposed to have been higher at an early stage of contact metamorphism, but it has lost its salt content by K-metasomatic reactions and/or the preferential migration of the saline fluids out of the contact zones towards the enderbite. The low water activity inhibited the localized melting of the granite. Mineral thermobarometry suggests that after charnockite aureole genesis, an isobaric cooling path was followed during which reequilibration of most of the aqueous inclusions occurred.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-132
Number of pages18
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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