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Journal Articles Lithos Year : 2019

The lawsonite-glaucophane blueschists of Elba Island (Italy)

Caterina Bianco
  • Function : Author
Alison Halton
  • Function : Author
Andrea Brogi
  • Function : Author
Domenico Liotta
  • Function : Author
Alfredo Caggianelli
  • Function : Author


Evidence for high-P blueschist-facies metamorphism was found in metabasites embedded in calcschists of Eastern Elba Island (Northern Apennines, Italy). Study of immobile trace elements (REEs and HFSEs) in the metabasites indicates an affinity with T- and E-MORBs, and they are interpreted as sill or dykes intruded in the western margin of the Adria continental plate. The minerals are heterogeneously distributed in the rock, constituting mafic and Ca-Al-rich microdomains inherited respectively from the magmatic pyroxene- and plagioclase-rich zones of the original doleritic rock. The peak pressure paragenesis consisted of lawsonite, aegirine-omphacite, glaucophane and chlorite. Former rhombic prisms of lawsonite have been replaced by pseudomorphic clinozoisite (0.1 mm in size) with inclusions of Ms. ± Ab ± Qz. The inclusions are preferentially oriented parallel to one of the diagonals of the basal rhombic sections, indicating that the two diagonals were not crystallographically equivalent. This implies that the protocrystals were orthorhombic prisms with {110} faces, which is the case of lawsonite. The different compositions shown by white mica and epidote in the pseudomorphs (muscovite and Fe3+-poor clinozoisite) and in the matrix (phengite and Fe3+-rich epidote) also suggest the former presence of Mg- and Fe-poor lawsonite in these rocks. Thermodynamic modelling, using the THERMOCALC software and dataset, suggests that metabasites experienced a clockwise P-T path from the lawsonite-blueschist to epidote-blueschist subfacies, down to greenschist facies. The estimated peak pressure conditions are P ≥ 1.6 GPa and 450 < T < 500 °C. Glaucophane grew mainly during the lawsonite-to-epidote transition and is dated at 19.8 ± 1.4 Ma by the 40Ar/39Ar method. This evolution is interpreted in terms: (i) intrusion of basic magmas in carbonatic and pelitic sediments (post-late Cretaceous, pre-Oligocene), (ii) subduction (Oligocene), (iii) collision (early Miocene: 19.8 ± 1.4 Ma), (iv) exhumation and granite intrusion (middle-late Miocene), favored by extensional tectonics. We underline that the eastern part of Elba Island belongs to a blueschist-facies belt that extends from Gorgona Island, in the northwest, to Argentario and Giglio Island in the southeast, so many of the conclusions of this study can be extended to the whole of this belt.

Av(n): average of n analyses.

Av(n): average of n analyses.

Av(n): average of n analyses.

Dates and versions

insu-03586587 , version 1 (24-02-2022)



Caterina Bianco, Gaston Godard, Alison Halton, Andrea Brogi, Domenico Liotta, et al.. The lawsonite-glaucophane blueschists of Elba Island (Italy). Lithos, 2019, 348, pp. 1265-1288. ⟨10.1016/j.lithos.2019.105198⟩. ⟨insu-03586587⟩
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