Silica-undersaturated reaction zones at a crust–mantle interface in the Highland Complex, Sri Lanka: Mass transfer and melt infiltration during high-temperature metasomatism
Sri Lanka is a crucial Gondwana fragment mostly composed of granulitic rocks in the Highland Complex surrounded by rocks with granulite to amphibolite grade in the Vijayan and Wanni Complex that were structurally juxtaposed during Pan-African orogeny. Fluids associated with granulite-facies metamorphism are thought to have controlled various lower crustal processes such as dehydration/hydration reactions, partial melting, and high-temperature metasomatism. Chemical disequilibrium in the hybrid contact zone between a near peak post-tectonic ultramafic enclave and siliceous granulitic gneiss at Rupaha within the Highland Complex produced metasomatic reaction zones under the presence of melt. Different reaction zones observed in the contact zone show the mineral assemblages phlogopite + spinel + sapphirine (zone A), spinel + sapphirine + corundum (zone B), corundum (~ 30%) + biotite + plagioclase zone (zone C) and plagioclase + biotite + corundum (~ 5%) zone (zone D). Chemical potential diagrams and mass balance reveal that the addition of Mg from ultramafic rocks and removal of Si from siliceous granulitic gneiss gave rise to residual enrichment of Al in the metasomatized mineral assemblages. We propose that contact metasomatism between the two units, promoted by melt influx, caused steady state diffusional transport across the profile. Corundum growth was promoted by the strong residual Al enrichment and Si depletion in reaction zone whereas sapphirine may have been formed under high Mg activity near the ultramafic rocks. Modelling also indicated that metasomatic alteration occurred at ca. 850 °C at 9 kbar, which is consistent with post-peak metamorphic conditions reached during the initial stage of exhumation in the lower crust and with temperature calculations based on conventional geothermometry.