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Nd isotope re-equilibration during high temperature metamorphism across an orogenic belt - Evidence from monazite and garnet

Hui Cao, Jeffrey D. Vervoort, Christopher M. Fisher, Da Wang

Monazite is a powerful U-Th-Pb geochronometer commonly used to determine the tempo of orogenic processes. As a light rare earth element (LREE)-enriched mineral, monazite also records key information for understanding the behavior of Sm-Nd isotope systematics during tectonothermal events. However, Sm-Nd isotope studies of monazite have received far less attention than its use as a U-Pb geochronometer. Here we investigate coupled U-Pb ages and Sm-Nd isotopic compositions of monazite from partially melted metasedimentary rocks in the Jiao-Liao-Ji orogenic belt (JLJB), North China craton, to provide insight into Sm-Nd isotope behavior during high-temperature metamorphism and crustal melting. We utilize several complementary dating systems in the same sample, including garnet Lu-Hf and Sm-Nd, zircon U-Pb, and monazite U-Pb geochronology, to gain precise time constraints on the P-T evolution of the JLJB. Garnet Lu-Hf isochron dates of 1.97–1.94 Ga are interpreted to represent prograde garnet growth, consistent with the prograde metamorphic zircon dates of 1.96–1.90 Ga; garnet Sm-Nd dates agree with retrograde metamorphic zircon dates, and all monazite U-Pb dates define a relatively narrow age range of 1.86–1.83 Ga, interpreted to represent retrograde cooling. The lack of older monazite grains matching zircon or garnet dates suggests the dissolution of pre-existing monazites into partial melt. Monazite in all samples, irrespective of occurring as garnet inclusions or in the matrix, yields homogenous Nd isotope compositions (εNd ~ −5) at ~1.85 Ga, which are consistent with the garnet and bulk-rock values. Thus, Nd isotope re-equilibration between bulk-rock and minerals occurs synchronously across the orogenic belt during high-T metamorphism (~750 °C) where melting was involved, with no evidence of a pre-metamorphic isotope signature. This suggests mobility in the Sm-Nd isotope system during high-grade metamorphism and melting, where the Nd isotope signature of monazite likely represents the most recent tectonothermal event.