Zircon perspectives on the age and origin of evolved S-type granites from the Cornubian Batholith, Southwest England

William Daniel Smith, James Darling, Dean Bullen, Stephanie Lasalle, Inês Filipa Gonçalves Martins Pereira, Hugo Souza Moreira, Connor James Allen, Simon Tapster

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Granite stocks across southwest England have played a significant role in the genesis of world-class polymetallic mineralisation. This study presents the first geochemical and geochronological dataset for the composite Crownhill stock, placing it into the newly emerging geochronological framework for the Cornubian Batholith. The Crownhill stock comprises kaolinised two-mica granite in the north and variably-grained biotite granite in the south that encloses pods of tourmaline granite. All granites are peraluminous (A/CNK > 1) and the biotite (BG) and tourmaline granites (TG) are related by the replacement of biotite by tourmaline and secondary muscovitization. Integrated LA-ICP-MS and CA-ID-TIMS geochronology indicate two-phase magmatism, where zircon cores yield 288.9 ± 5 Ma and 286.4 ± 5 Ma and rims yield 277.74 ± 0.33 Ma and 278.35 ± 0.35 Ma, for BG and TG respectively. The zircon cores crystallised during initial magmatism, that formed the two-mica and muscovite granites (e.g., Carnmenellis, Bodmin, and Hemerdon) exposed in the north of the Crownhill stock. The zircon rims crystallised from the second phase of magmatism that formed the biotite and tourmaline granites (e.g., Dartmoor and St. Austell). This indicates that zircon crystals were assimilated from older two-mica and muscovite granites and entrained in the second phase of magmatism. Trace element compositions of zircon grains suggest that the rims crystallised from a more evolved magma, where zircon grains hosted in tourmaline granites are broadly more evolved than those from biotite granites. This is likely a result of elevated volatile concentrations delaying zircon fractionation. Trace cassiterite has been observed within interstitial tourmaline in the tourmaline granites, where crystallisation was likely induced by the removal of boron through tourmaline fractionation, coupled with the addition of Sn sourced from the alteration of biotite. The assimilation and over-printing of older granites by second-stage magmatism suggests that the initial phase of magmatism could be more widespread than initially thought and that tourmalinisation may have been responsible for leaching and remobilising Sn from the biotite-rich granites.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-26
Number of pages13
Early online date25 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2019


  • S-type granite
  • Zircon
  • U-Pb geochronology
  • geochemistry
  • Tin-tungsten
  • Cornubian Batholith


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