Transmission Electron Microscopy Study of Very Low-Grade Metamorphic Rocks in Cambrian Sandstones and Shales, Ossa-Morena Zone, Southwest Spain

A. López-Munguira1 and F. Nieto2
1 Area de Cristalografía y Mineralogía, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Extremadura, Avda. de Elvas s/n, 06071-Badajoz, Spain
2 Departamento de Mineralogía y Petrología and I.A.C.T., Universidad de Granada-CSIC, Avda. Fuentenueva s/n, 18002-Granada, Spain
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Abstract: This study examines the evolution of the texture, structure, and chemical composition of rocks derived from clastic materials of the Ossa-Morena Zone (Hesperian Massif, Spain). Previous studies of phyllosilicates in these rocks (by X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy with energy-dispersive X-ray analysis, and electron microprobe) indicated a temperature decrease from bottom (epizone conditions) to top (diagenetic conditions) of the rock section.

At the nanometer scale, phyllosilicate packets form large angles where grains intersect with no preferred orientation. With metamorphic grade, packets are wide and defect free, compared to packets at lower grade. These packets are ∼ 15 layers under diagenetic conditions to >80 layers in the epizone. Dioctahedral K-rich micas (muscovite, phengite, and illite) have coexisting 1Md, 1M, and 2M polytypes. Long-period polytypes of 4, 5, and 6 layers are reported for the first time in dioctahedral K-rich micas. The chemical compositions of the micas are nearly identical in the anchizone and the diagenetic zone, comprising an illitic (0.8 atoms per formula unit, a.f.u., of K) and a phengitic component (0.15 a.f.u, of Mg and 0.13 a.f.u, of Fe). Fe may correspond to a ferrimuscovitic substitution. Epizone samples have a high phengitic content (Mg = 0.24 a.f.u.) and almost no illite component. One diagenetic sample has coexisting berthierine, trioctahedral chlorite, sudoite, and corrensite. Berthierine and chlorite are identical in composition. Because of the clastic nature of the system, the composition of corrensite is not typical of other corrensites, with higher Al content, Fe/Mg ratio at ∼1, and K as the exchangeable cation.

Textural differences between the diagenetic zone and the anchizone are the progressive increase in the size of dioctahedral K-rich mica grains, which involves an increasing illite crystallinity based on the Kübler index. The chemical compositions of these micas are illite (diagenesis and anchizone) and phengite in the epizone. There are no intermediate phases, suggesting a compositional gap between illite and phengite. The coexistence of different polytypes of dioctahedral K-rich micas and the absence of chemical homogeneity indicate disequilibrium in the Cambrian pelitic rocks studied.

Key Words: AEM • Anchizone • Chloritic Phases • Clastic Rocks • Mica • Polytypes • Variscan Belt

Clays and Clay Minerals; April 2000 v. 48; no. 2; p. 213-223; DOI: 10.1346/CCMN.2000.0480207
© 2000, The Clay Minerals Society
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