SHRIMP II dating of zircons and monazites: Reassessing the timing of high-grade metamorphism and fluid flow in the Reynolds Range, northern Arunta Block, Australia

J. Vry, W. Compston, I. Cartwright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


Key insights into the timing of tectonometamorphic events in a complex high-grade metamorphic terrane can be obtained by combining results from SHRIMP II ion microprobe studies of individual monazite grains with SHRIMP II studies and scanning electron microscope (SEM)-based cathodoluminescence (CL) imaging of zircons. Results from the Reynolds Range region, Arunta Block, Northern Territory, Australia, show that the final episode of regional metamorphism to high-T and low-P granulite facies conditions is most likely to have occurred at c. 1580 Ma, not at 1785-1775 Ma, as previously accepted. The previous interpretation was based on zircon studies of structurally controlled granitoids, without SEM-based CL imaging. Monazites in a 1806±6 Ma megacrystic granitoid preserve rare cores that are interpreted to be inherited magmatic monazite, but record no evidence of another high-T event prior to 1580 Ma. Most monazites from the region record only a single high-T metamorphic event at c. 1580 Ma. Zircon inheritance is very common. Zircons or narrow overgrowths of zircon dated at c. 1580 Ma have only been found in two types of rocks: rocks produced by metasomatic fluid flow at high temperatures (≥ 750°C) and rocks that have undergone local partial melting. Previous explanations that attributed these 1580 Ma zircon ages to widespread hydrothermal fluid fluxing associated with post-tectonic pegmatite emplacement at amphibolite facies conditions are not supported by the available evidence including oxygen isotope data. The observed high regional metamorphic temperatures require the involvement of advective heating. However, contrary to a previous tectonic model for the formation of this and other low-P, high-T metamorphic belts, the granites that are exposed at the present structural level do not appear to be the source of that heat, unless some of the granites were emplaced at c. 1580 Ma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-350
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Metamorphic Geology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1996


  • Arunta Block, central Australia
  • High-T and low-P metamorphism
  • Metasomatism
  • Proterozoic
  • SHRIMP dating
  • Tectonics

Cite this