The ductile-brittle transition zone in extensional regimes can play the role of a hydrogeological barrier. Quartz veins developed within an orthogneiss body located in the detachment footwall of a Metamorphic Core Complex (MCC) in the Nevado-Filábride units (Betics, Spain). The detachment footwall is composed mainly of gneisses, schists and metacarbonates from the Bédar-Macael sub-unit. Schist and metacarbonate bodies show evidence of ductile deformation at the time the gneiss was already undergoing brittle deformation and vein opening during exhumation. The vein system provides the opportunity to investigate the origin, composition and PVTX conditions of the fluids that circulated in the detachment footwall while the footwall units were crossing the ductile-brittle transition.The analysis of fluid inclusions reveals the presence of a single type of fluid: 30–40 mass% NaCl > KCl > CaCl2 > MgCl2 brines, with trace amounts of CO2 and N2 and tens to thousands of ppm of metals such as Fe, Sr, Li, Zn, Ba, Pb and Cu. δDfluid values between −39.8 and −16.7‰ and δ18Ofluid values between 4.4 and 11.7 ± 0.5‰ show that the brines have undergone protracted interaction with the host orthogneissic body. Coupled salinity and Cl/Br ratios (200 to 4400) indicate that the brines originate from dissolution of Triassic metaevaporites by metamorphic fluids variably enriched in Br by interaction with graphitic schists.This study highlights the absence of any record of surficial fluids within the veins, despite the brittle deformation conditions prevailing in this orthogneiss body. The fact that fluids from the detachment footwall were isolated from surficial fluid reservoirs may result from the presence of overlying schists and metacarbonates that continued to be affected by ductile deformation during vein formation in the gneiss, preventing downward circulation of surface-derived fluids.
Tectonophysics – Elsevier
Published: Mar 15, 2018
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