Mineral inclusions in rutile: a novel recorder of HP-UHP metamorphism

Emma Hart, Craig Darryl Storey, Emilie Bruand, Hans-Peter Schertl, Bruce Alexander

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The ability to accurately constrain the secular record of high- and ultra-high pressure metamorphism on Earth is potentially hampered as these rocks are metastable and prone to retrogression, particularly during exhumation. Rutile is among the most widespread and best preserved minerals in high- and ultra-high pressure rocks and a hitherto untested approach is to use mineral inclusions within rutile to record such conditions. In this study, rutiles from three different high- and ultrahigh-pressure massifs have been investigated for inclusions. Rutile is shown to contain inclusions of high-pressure minerals such as omphacite, garnet and high silica phengite, as well as diagnostic ultrahigh-pressure minerals, including the first reported occurrence of exceptionally preserved monomineralic coesite in rutile from the Dora–Maira massif. Chemical comparison of inclusion and matrix phases show that inclusions generally represent peak metamorphic assemblages; although rare prograde phases such as titanite, omphacite and corundum have also been identified implying that rutile grows continuously during prograde burial and traps mineralogic evidence of this evolution. Pressure estimates obtained from mineral inclusions, when used in conjunction with Zr-in-rutile thermometry, can provide additional constraints on the metamorphic conditions of the host rock. This study demonstrates that rutile is an excellent repository for high- and ultra-high pressure minerals and that the study of mineral inclusions in rutile may profoundly change the way we investigate and recover evidence of such events in both detrital populations and partially retrogressed samples.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-148
Number of pages12
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Early online date12 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2016


  • RCUK
  • NERC
  • NE/I025573
  • rutile
  • mineral inclusions
  • (U)HP-LT metamorphism
  • subduction
  • coesite


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