Stable isotope (B, H, O) and mineral-chemistry constraints on the magmatic to hydrothermal evolution of the Varuträsk rare-element pegmatite (northern Sweden)

Karin Siegel, Thomas Wagner, Robert Trumbull, Erik Jonsson, Gabriella Matalin, Markus Wälle, Christoph A. Heinrich

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The internal evolution of the Varuträsk rare-element pegmatite (Skellefte district, northern Sweden) has been investigated using stable isotope (B, H, O) geochemistry of tourmaline and coexisting micas, feldspar and quartz. Varuträsk is a classic and typical example of highly fractionated LCT-type pegmatites, with a pronounced concentric zoning pattern composed of well-developed border, wall and intermediate zones and a quartz core. The pegmatite displays considerable rare-element enrichment, culminating in the formation of albite-lepidolite and pollucite units in the innermost zones. Major and trace element variations in tourmaline from the main pegmatite zones correlate well with the internal zoning pattern. Mineral compositions record an abrupt change in fractionation trends between the barren outer and intermediate zones and the inner, late-stage assemblages that carry rare-element mineralization. This change is also shown by the B-isotope variations of tourmaline. Early and mid-stage tourmalines record a systematic increase in δ11B from -14.6 to -6.2 ‰ which can be explained by closed-system melt-mineral isotope fractionation whereby crystallization of large amounts of muscovite preferentially removes 10B from the residual melt. In contrast, tourmaline from late-stage assemblages in the inner zones and cross-cutting veinlets shows a reversal in the B isotope trend, with a decrease in δ11B from -8 to14.1 ‰. - This reversal cannot be explained by mineral-melt isotope fractionation, but requires fluid-melt partitioning and partial fluid loss. Hydrogen isotope variations in mica support this model. The systematic increase in δD from -75 ‰ in the outer zones (muscovite) to -63 and -53 ‰ in the inner zones (Li-micas) cannot be explained by closed-system variations in temperature or melt-mica fractionation, but it is consistent with late fluid exsolution. Oxygen isotope compositions of tourmaline (δ18O from 9.7 to 11.6 ‰), quartz (13.3 to 14 ‰) and mica (10.3 to 11.3 ‰) show good agreement with equilibrium partitioning and yield temperatures in the range 450° to 600° C. Combining this with the stability fields of Li-aluminosilicates petalite and spodumene indicates crystallization pressures of 2-3 kbar. Taken together, the stable isotope and mineral chemistry data demonstrate that rare-element enrichment in the innermost fractionated assemblages in the Varuträsk pegmatite was associated with the transition from purely magmatic crystallization to conditions where a separate aqueous fluid phase became important.
Original languageEnglish
JournalChemical Geology
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 1171 Geosciences

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