A fluid inclusion and stable isotope study of 200 Ma of fluid evolution in the Galway Granite, Connemara, Ireland

O'Reilly, C., Jenkin, G.R.T., Feely, M., Alderton, D.H.M. and Fallick, A.E. (1997) A fluid inclusion and stable isotope study of 200 Ma of fluid evolution in the Galway Granite, Connemara, Ireland. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 129(2-3), pp. 120-142. (doi: 10.1007/s004100050327)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s004100050327


Fluid inclusions in granite quartz and three generations of veins indicate that three fluids have affected the Caledonian Galway Granite. These fluids were examined by petrography, microthermometry, chlorite thermometry, fluid chemistry and stable isotope studies. The earliest fluid was a H2O-CO2-NaCl fluid of moderate salinity (4–10 wt% NaCl eq.) that deposited late-magmatic molybdenite mineralised quartz veins (V1) and formed the earliest secondary inclusions in granite quartz. This fluid is more abundant in the west of the batholith, corresponding to a decrease in emplacement depth. Within veins, and to the east, this fluid was trapped homogeneously, but in granite quartz in the west it unmixed at 305–390 °C and 0.7–1.8 kbar. Homogeneous quartz δ18O across the batholith (9.5 ± 0.4‰n = 12) suggests V1 precipitation at high temperatures (perhaps 600 °C) and pressures (1–3 kbar) from magmatic fluids. Microthermometric data for V1 indicate lower temperatures, suggesting inclusion volumes re-equilibrated during cooling. The second fluid was a H2O-NaCl-KCl, low-moderate salinity (0–10 wt% NaCl eq.), moderate temperature (270–340 °C), high δD (−18 ± 2‰), low δ18O (0.5–2.0‰) fluid of meteoric origin. This fluid penetrated the batholith via quartz veins (V2) which infill faults active during post-consolidation uplift of the batholith. It forms the most common inclusion type in granite quartz throughout the batholith and is responsible for widespread retrograde alteration involving chloritization of biotite and hornblende, sericitization and saussuritization of plagioclase, and reddening of K-feldspar. The salinity was generated by fluid-rock interactions within the granite. Within granite quartz this fluid was trapped at 0.5–2.3 kbar, having become overpressured. This fluid probably infiltrated the Granite in a meteoric-convection system during cooling after intrusion, but a later age cannot be ruled out. The final fluid to enter the Granite and its host rocks was a H2O-NaCl-CaCl2-KCl fluid with variable salinity (8–28 wt% NaCl eq.), temperature (125–205 °C), δD (−17 to −45‰), δ18O (−3 to + 1.2‰), δ13CCO2 (−19 to 0‰) and δ34Ssulphate (13–23‰) that deposited veins containing quartz, fluorite, calcite, barite, galena, chalcopyrite sphalerite and pyrite (V3). Correlations of salinity, temperature, δD and δ18O are interpreted as the result of mixing of two fluid end-members, one a high-δD (−17 to −8‰), moderate-δ18O (1.2–2.5‰), high-δ13CCO2 (> −4‰), low-δ34Ssulphate (13‰), high-temperature (205–230 °C), moderate-salinity (8–12 wt% NaCl eq.) fluid, the other a low-δD (−61 to −45‰), low-δ18O (−5.4 to −3‰), low-δ13C (<−10‰), high-δ34Ssulphate (20–23‰) low-temperature (80–125 °C), high-salinity (21–28 wt% NaCl eq.) fluid. Geochronological evidence suggests V3 veins are late Triassic; the high-δD end-member is interpreted as a contemporaneous surface fluid, probably mixed meteoric water and evaporated seawater and/or dissolved evaporites, whereas the low-δD end-member is interpreted as a basinal brine derived from the adjacent Carboniferous sequence. This study demonstrates that the Galway Granite was a locus for repeated fluid events for a variety of reasons; from expulsion of magmatic fluids during the final stages of crystallisation, through a meteoric convection system, probably driven by waning magmatic heat, to much later mineralisation, concentrated in its vicinity due to thermal, tectonic and compositional properties of granite batholiths which encourage mineralisation long after magmatic heat has abated.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Fallick, Professor Anthony
Authors: O'Reilly, C., Jenkin, G.R.T., Feely, M., Alderton, D.H.M., and Fallick, A.E.
Subjects:Q Science > QE Geology
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Journal Abbr.:Contrib Mineral Petr
ISSN (Online):1432-0967
Published Online:28 October 1997

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