Original paper

New occurrences of jadeitite, jadeite quartzite and jadeite-lawsonite quartzite in the Dominican Republic, Hispaniola: petrological and geochronological overview

Schertl, Hans -Peter; Maresch, Walter V.; Stanek, Klaus P.; Hertwig, Andreas; Krebs, Martin; Baese, Rauno; Sergeev, Sergey S.

Abstract

New occurrences of jadeitite and jadeite-rich rocks have been discovered in the Rio San Juan Complex (RSJC) of the northern Dominican Republic in serpentinite mélanges associated with a former intra-oceanic subduction zone. Allochthonous blocks in lag deposits developed on the mélange outcrops or boulders in river beds are common. A very unusual feature for the RSJC is the occurrence of concordant layers and discordant veins of cm to dm thickness in blocks of jadeite±lawsonite- or omphacite-garnet-bearing blueschist of the mélange. Two suites of jadeite-rich rocks can be recognized. The first is represented by quartz-free jadeitite s.str. (>90 vol% jadeite) found so far only as blocks and boulders. The second suite comprises quartz-bearing jadeitite s.str. grading into jadeitite quartzite (JQ), jadeite-lawsonite quartzite (JLQ) and jadeite-free lawsonite quartzite (LQ). The second suite is found both as blocks and boulders as well as layers and veins in blueschist blocks. One single occurrence of a cross-cutting omphacitite vein in blueschist has also been observed. Additional important phases so far found in both suites are omphacite, phengite, glaucophane, epidote, albite, calcite, titanite and zircon. Apatite and pumpellyite have only been identified in quartz-free jadeitite s.str.; almandinerich garnet has so far been observed only in JLQ. The two suites of jadeite-bearing rocks occur in various shades of green, are fine- to coarse-grained, and usually equigranular. Mineral distribution is commonly homogeneous, but may be patchy in JLQ, giving this rock type a distinctly mottled appearance. Cathodoluminescence (CL) images show oscillatory zoning patterns in jadeite, zircon, apatite and calcite; this is evidence for crystallization from an aqueous fluid under open-system conditions. Zircons separated from a sample of quartz-free jadeitite s.str. contain primary inclusions of high-pressure matrix minerals such as jadeite and omphacite, indicating coeval zircon growth. The cores of the zircons yield ages of 114.9±2.9 Ma, thus defining a crystallization age close to the initiation of subduction in the Rio San Juan Complex, when “warm“ geotherms of ≈15°/km prevailed. These ages are in contrast with the crystallization ages of the blueschists hosting the second, quartz-bearing suite of jadeite-rich rocks. These range from 80 to 62 Ma, towards the end of subduction-zone activity at 55 Ma and “cool“ geotherms of 8-9 °C/km. For the younger quartz-bearing suite, the combination of phengite compositions with the available P-T-t paths of the host blueschists suggests crystallization temperatures of 350 to 500 °C at minimum pressures of 15-16 kbar. The P-T conditions for the older quartz-free suite are more difficult to constrain, but the combination of phengite compositions with the prevailing geotherms in the young and warm subduction zone suggest minimum conditions of at least 500 °C and 11 kbar. However, temperatures and pressures as high as 600 °C and 15 kbar, as documented for jadeitites of similar age in the same subduction zone exposed in neighbouring eastern Cuba, are possible. Jadeitites and jadeite-rich rocks of the RSJC are thus interpreted to have crystallized over a time-span of ≥ 60 Myr at initial temperatures of at least 500 °C, later evolving down to 350 °C in a single, thermally self-organizing, cooling subduction zone. The P-T conditions suggested for the younger quartzbearing suite correlate well with those of jadeitite formation in Guatemala south of the Motagua Fault Zone, the only other occurrence world-wide where jadeitite with both lawsonite and quartz appears to be common. Further evidence is needed to corroborate that the older quartz-free suite represents another example of rare high-temperature jadeitite as documented in Cuba.

Keywords

rio san juan complexjadeititeblueschistserpentinite mélangehigh pressuremetasomatism