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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Thermobarometry of pelitic rocks using equilibria between quartz-garnet-aluminosilicate-muscovite-biotite, with application to rocks of the Quesnel Lake area, British Columbia McMullin, David William Augustine


Rocks of the Quesnel Lake area are divided into three units: unit 1, a continental margin sequence; unit 2, The Crooked Amphibolite (an ocean-floor sequence); and unit 3, the Quesnel sedimentary and volcanic sequence. Two conglomerate localities within unit 3 contain clasts identified as being derived from deformed rocks of units 1 and 2. Deformation of the combined package of units 1 and 2 must have accompanied the emplacement of unit 2 onto unit 1 sometime between the deposition of unit 2 (Mississippian - Permian) and the deposition of unit 3 (Triassic - Jurassic). Rocks of unit 1 have been divided by earlier workers into the Barkerville and Cariboo terranes, separated by the Pleasant Valley Thrust. An extensive review shows that the two terranes are stratigraphically similar and share most of their structural history. The Pleasant Valley Thrust, if it exists, is an extremely early structure. These data do not satisfy the criteria for naming these units 'terranes'. The rocks of unit 1 and 2 experienced an extra phase of deformation not seen in rocks of unit 3. A total of five phases of folding are present. Phases 1 through 4 are approximately coaxial with northwest axes and variably oriented axial planes. Phase 5 has northeast trending axes and vertical axial planes. F₁ is seen in units 1 and 2 only and is visible in outcrop as rootless isoclinal folds and a transposed foliation. In thin section, S₁ is only preserved within the earliest garnet porphyroblasts. F₂ folding is the major deformational event. Peak metamorphism accompanied and outlasted it. Major F₂ folds are present in the field and are accompanied by an axial planar foliation. In thin section, S₂ wraps around earlier porphyroblasts but is overgrown by later ones (staurolite, kyanite). F₃ folding is responsible for the major map-scale structures. It postdated the peak of metamorphism and isograds axe folded by it. In thin section S₃ is commonly a crenulation cleavage or transposed foliation. Some late mineral growth accompanied the early stages of F₃. F₄ and F₅ are buckle folds and kinks and may be conjugate fold sets from a single deformational event. They are not generally visible in thin section. The assemblage silica - garnet - aluminosilicate - mica (SGAM) is common in amphibolite grade meta-pelitic rocks, and can be used as a thermobarometer if the activities of muscovite and biotite can be calculated accurately. A new method of calculating the ideal activity of mica components is proposed. Standard models do not adequately account for the degree of coupled substitution that takes place. The proposed method stores the site occupancies in a 4-dimensional array and manipulates the entries to satisfy three criteria. 1: That non-permitted ionic configurations (species) have an activity of zero. 2: That the sum of all activities is unity. 3: That the sum of all activities of species containing a particular ion in a particular site is the site occupancy of that ion. The method is computationally simple and yields activity values that satisfy the distribution of species equations of an ideal complex solution model. Standard state properties for annite and Margules solution parameters for biotite are determined using mathematical programming techniques on published experimental and natural assemblage data. Published volume data indicate that Fe-Mg mixing in biotite is ideal. The data permit the calculation of four Margules parameters (MgTi, FeTi, MgAl, FeAl). The differences MgTi - FeTi and MgAl - FeAl are similar to those found by previous workers but the treatment of the data suggests moderately large individual values for the Margules parameters (up to 75 kJ/mol). Using these activity models the SGAM thermobarometer is applied to several sets of published analyses which show that this calibration offers distinct improvements over previous calibrations. Pressures determined using the new calibration are consistent with other barometers and the aluminosilicate polymorph present. In addition, several data sets show field gradients, particularly in P, not previously recognized and which agree with field observations. The SGAM barometer applied to the analytical data from the Quesnel Lake area yields pressures and temperatures that are consistent with the mapped isograds. The pressure and temperature gradients indicate that the final setting of the thermobarome-ter was diachronous across the area and during the early stages of F₃ folding. Hot rocks in cores of anticlines 'set' at later times and at shallower depths than cooler rocks in adjacent synclines. Tight spacing of isograds is more consistent with post-metamorphic folding than with high thermal gradients.

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