Petrogenesis of Sapphirine‐Bearing Metatroctolites from the Buck Creek Ultramafic Body, Southern Appalachians

Document Type


Publication Date



Buck Creek ultramafic body, sapphirine, symplectites, troctolite

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



The Buck Creek ultramafic body, North Carolina, includes aluminous lenses that have been described as troctolites. These lenses preserve mineral assemblages which record several different stages of metamorphism. The first stage is characterized by anhydrous reactions between olivine and plagioclase to produce coronas of orthopyroxene+ clinopyroxene/spinel symplectite. Thermo barometric results indicate minimum pressures of c. 6 kbar and c. 800 oC. Sapphirine replaces spinel in some clinopyroxene symplectites, and occurs as anhedral grains within amphibole, observations which in combination suggest peak metamorphic conditions of c. 9-10 kbar and c. 850 oC. Sapphirine-bearing hydrous assemblages formed at the expense of the coronas, indicating a second metamorphic episode involving deeper burial, deformation and hydration. Schistose rocks from the margins of the lenses are composed of anorthite+amphibole+margarite+corundum, and probably record a later, lower P-T event. Whole rock analyses for the Buck Creek lenses suggest an accumulate protolith of magnesian olivine and calcic plagioclase. Trace element data for the troctolites are consistent with data for adjacent amphibolites in suggesting that the Buck Creek mafic and ultramafic cumulates crystallized from magmas derived from a mantle source similar to that which produces modern intraplate or rift-related basalts. We propose that the Buck Creek ultramafics represent basal cumulates(± uppermost mantle) from ocean crust formed in a marginal basin in the latest Precambrian. Subduction-induced burial to at least 18 km under dry conditions induced corona formation. Collisional events of the Taconic orogeny thrust the Buck Creek rocks into the orogenic pile to at least 30 km depth and hydrated them along zones of weakness, locally producing P-T -PH2O conditions appropriate for formation of sapphirine and hydrated assemblages, but still preserving some dry symplectites.

Was this content written or created while at USF?


Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Metamorphic Geology, v. 14, issue 2, p. 103-114