Fingerprints of forearc element mobility in blueschist-facies metaconglomerates, Catalina Schist, California

Natalie E. Sievers, Joanne Tenore, Sarah C. Penniston-Dorland, Gray E. Bebout

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Metaconglomerates in the lawsonite–blueschist facies unit of the Catalina Schist (California) contain gabbroic and dioritic clasts exhibiting evidence for extensive metasomatism during high-P/T metamorphism. We performed whole-rock and in situ analyses of these metaconglomerate clasts to better constrain the composition of infiltrating fluids and to elucidate the history of chemical alteration. Petrographic evidence for this alteration includes replacements of plagioclase by phengite and sodic amphibole rims developed on igneous hornblende. These observations regarding mineral replacement are reinforced by corresponding shifts in chemical compositions. Relative to compositions of presumed protoliths, whole-rock compositions of the metaconglomerate clasts show enrichments in elements that are relatively mobile in aqueous fluids (LILE: K, Rb, Cs, and Ba; Li, B, N), and elevated δ15N, and show depletions in Ca and Sr. Electron and ion microprobe data, and analyses of mineral separates, show that phengite and sodic amphibole are enriched in LILE and Li and B, respectively, relative to the igneous phases they have replaced. Oxygen and C isotope compositions of finely disseminated calcite in the clasts, and of calcite in veins cross-cutting or mantling the clasts, are consistent with crystallization from fluids previously equilibrated with metasedimentary rocks within the same unit. The same fluids are implicated as the source for the Li, B, N, and LILE enrichments. These metaconglomerate clasts provide unique records of forearc metasomatism due to the presumed extremely low and well-constrained concentrations of fluid-mobile elements in their protoliths and the previously published, larger-scale fluid–rock context into which the observed metasomatic changes can be placed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)741-752
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Geology Review
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - Apr 26 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Subduction
  • blueschist
  • fluid–rock interaction
  • stable isotopes
  • trace elements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology


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