A rutile and titanite record of subduction fluids: Integrated oxygen isotope and trace element analyses in Franciscan high‐pressure rocks

F. Zeb Page, Craig D. Storey

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In situ oxygen analysis of garnet in eclogite and related rocks is increasingly being used to probe the composition of subduction fluids. However, in many cases, these samples contain textural signs of both fluid flow and retrograde metamorphism, some of which may take place outside the garnet stability field. In order to test the connection between polymetamorphism and fluid infiltration, rutile rimmed by titanite from high-grade tectonic blocks of the Franciscan Formation (California, USA) was analysed for oxygen isotope ratios and trace element concentrations. Zirconium concentrations in rutile yield temperatures of ~600°C for eclogite and hornblende eclogite from three well-studied localities (Junction School, Tiburon and Ward Creek). Rutile trace element concentrations are generally low and consistent with a mafic protolith. Titanite surrounding rutile has inherited much of its trace element content from rutile, and Zr-in-titanite temperatures are spuriously high. Titanite in rutile-free samples (blueschist and eclogite from Jenner beach) have similar compositions suggesting that they were formed at the expense of rutile as well. Oxygen isotope ratios from rutile and titanite in the same sample are fortuitously similar, indicating disequilibrium between these minerals, which formed at different times and temperatures but in equilibrium with the same oxygen reservoir. Rutile in blocks with garnets zoned in oxygen isotopes are generally in equilibrium with the rims rather than the cores. Slow oxygen diffusion in rutile and the low temperatures of formation require that rutile recrystallized after fluid interaction and before blueschist facies metamorphism. External fluid interaction of Franciscan eclogites took place near the peak of metamorphism.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Metamorphic Geology
Early online date14 Mar 2023
Publication statusEarly online - 14 Mar 2023


  • eclogite
  • Franciscan
  • oxygenisotope
  • rutile
  • titanite
  • trace element
  • UKRI
  • NERC
  • IMF528/0514

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