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917

The Canadian Mineralogist


Vol. 54, pp. 917-933 (2016)
DOI: 10.3749/canmin.1600010

A TECTONIC EVALUATION OF PEGMATITE PARENT GRANITES

SARAH L. HANSON
Adrian College, Geology Department, 110 S. Madison St., Adrian, Michigan 49221, USA

ABSTRACT

Pegmatites containing rare elements can be grouped into families based on geochemical composition. The family
classification includes pegmatites that are enriched in lithium, cesium, and tantalum (LCT pegmatites) and those that are
enriched in niobium, yttrium þ rare-earth-elements (REE), and fluorine (NYF pegmatites). A small number of pegmatites do
not fall neatly into these categories and include (1) those that exhibit mineralogical and chemical characteristics of both groups
(mixed LCT þ NYF pegmatites) and (2) those that lack one of the chemical components suggested by the acronyms. The
relationship between pegmatite family and granite tectonic type were re-examined using a large data set of published granite
compositions as a proxy for initial pegmatite composition, with special regard to the orogenic settings of the source granite
origin. Pearce trace-element discrimination diagrams for these granites suggest that LCT granite-pegmatite systems originate in
orogenic and perhaps less frequently in post-collisional tectonic settings, whereas NYF pegmatites form in anorogenic and post-
orogenic settings. Geochemical differences in the granite from each tectonic setting are reflected in the pegmatite mineralogy.
Granite that is parental to LCT pegmatites has generally higher abundances of LILE and B, thus the pegmatites typically
contain Li-bearing and Cs-bearing minerals as well as tourmaline group minerals. In contrast, granite that is parental to NYF
pegmatites is typically enriched in the REE and HFSE 6 F, thus typically have accessory Nb-Ta-Ti oxides, REE-bearing
minerals, and in most cases fluorite. These petrogenetic differences hold for the quintessential LCT and NYF pegmatites as well
as for those that have notable absences of one of the principle components.
Mixed-signature pegmatites that can be attributed to a parental granite are rare. For the three locations included in this
study, a post-orogenic to anorogenic origin suggests that these pegmatites may have been broadly NYF systems that were
contaminated at the magmatic stage or hydrothermally altered by a fluid enriched in components representative of LCT
pegmatites.

Keywords: pegmatite, NYF, LCT, Pearce discrimination diagram, parent granite, tectonic origin.

INTRODUCTION the above family classification applies only to


pegmatites that are derived via fractional crystalliza-
The most widely cited classification system for tion of a parent granite. Recent studies (Martin &
pegmatites is based on crystallization depth and DeVito 2005, Hanson et al. 2013, McKechnie et al.
categorizes pegmatites from deepest to shallowest as 2012) have shown that anatectic pegmatites, those that
abyssal, muscovite, muscovite-rare-element, rare-ele- result from partial melting of either crustal or mantle
ment, and miarolitic (Černý & Ercit 2005). These rocks, may be more common than previously thought.
authors also suggest a family classification system that The number of pegmatite studies has increased
distinguishes pegmatites derived by fractionation of a significantly since these pegmatite families were first
granitic melt based on petrogenetic parameters. proposed by Černý (1991). With more detailed
Pegmatite families for the rare-element and miarolitic information on a much larger number of pegmatites,
classes are subdivided into pegmatites that are it has become increasingly apparent that some
enriched in lithium, cesium, and tantalum (LCT pegmatites do not fit neatly into the LCT and NYF
pegmatites), and pegmatites that are enriched in families. The most common difficulty arises from
niobium, yttrium þ rare-earth-elements (REE), and pegmatites that exhibit a distinctly mixed LCT þ NYF
fluorine (NYF pegmatites). It is important to note that signature. Further complicating the family classifica-

§ Corresponding author e-mail address: slhanson@adrian.edu


918 THE CANADIAN MINERALOGIST

tion are pegmatites, and even pegmatite districts, that OROGENIC, ANOROGENIC, AND POST-OROGENIC
do not exhibit enrichment in all three of the elements GRANITES
typical of the designated family (Černý & Ercit 2005).
For example, although the Trout Creek Pass pegma- Orogenic granitic plutons form in tectonic settings
tites contain accessory Nb-Ta-Ti oxides and REE- that range from subduction to continental collision.
bearing minerals, fluorine-bearing minerals are sparse They generally produce granite that is either I- or S-
and fluorite is notably absent in both the extensive type, derived from melting of igneous or sedimentary
quarries and in the dump material (Hanson 1990, rocks, respectively. In subduction zones, water re-
Simmons et al. 2012). This assemblage of accessory leased from the downgoing slab carries high concen-
minerals suggests that these pegmatites are enriched in trations of large ion lithophile elements (LILE) and B,
Nb and Y, but with notably low F content they are not but leaves behind the relatively insoluble high field-
typical NYF pegmatites (Hanson 1990, Hanson et al. strength elements (HFSE). This leads to an enrichment
1992). of the more soluble elements in the overlying mantle
Early work on pegmatite classifications indicated wedge. Subsequent melting of this metasomatized
affiliations of different pegmatite families to their mantle material produces magma that is enriched in
parent granite type (S-, I-, and A-types) and tectonic LILE and B. These melts can accumulate at the base of
environment (syn-, late-, post-orogenic, and anoro- the crust where assimilation and fractional crystalli-
genic) but noted that there were ‘‘significant and zation processes modify the magma to more silicic
widespread exceptions’’ (Černý & Ercit 2005 and compositions. Additionally, this can lead to melting of
references therein). A subsequent study by Martin & overlying lower crustal material. In both cases, the
DeVito (2005) proposed that there exists a strong resulting suite of granitic rocks is generally metal-
relationship between tectonic setting and pegmatite uminous and exhibits a calc-alkaline enrichment trend.
types. Based on geochemical constraints, these authors If assimilation of crustal material is significant, these
suggested that LCT pegmatites result from magmatism rocks may show a strong imprint of an S-type
in compressional (orogenic) settings, whereas NYF component. In continent–continent collisional settings,
pegmatites develop in extensional (anorogenic) set- crustal thickening and heating produces anatectic S-
tings. These authors further noted that this ‘‘proto- type granites that are generally strongly peraluminous,
tectonic’’ classification for pegmatites would be more although some may be weakly metaluminous. How-
consistent with the current classification of granite, ever, S-type granites older than 1.5 Ga that were
which is based on geochemical constraints. derived from metasedimentary protoliths still possess
Quantitative analysis of pegmatites is difficult their primordial mantle characteristics, thus will be
because the extremely coarse grain size of some metaluminous rather than peraluminous, in spite of the
minerals, as well as the internal zonation of the important role of metasedimentary rocks at the source
pegmatites, precludes a direct measurement of both the (Valley 2003, Martin & De Vito 2005).
modal abundance of minerals and whole rock Anorogenic granitic plutons result from melting at
chemistry. Further complications in evaluating the locations where extension and associated attenuation
mineralogy of zoned pegmatites arise when only a of the crust is the dominant tectonic process. Extension
portion of the pegmatite is exposed. Thus, the list of can occur during periods of tectonic quiescence on a
minerals present may be incomplete and the modal regional scale or be more localized, the result of back-
proportions of these minerals may not be representa- arc spreading or transtension when the collision is
tive of the pegmatite as a whole. Both of these factors oblique. Thus, localized extension can occur in a
preclude a direct measurement of the whole rock broadly regional collisional tectonic setting. Granite
geochemical composition for pegmatites. For these formed in extensional tectonic settings is referred to as
reasons, this study evaluated the tectonic origin of A-type granite. These granites exhibit variable chem-
LCT–NYF family pegmatites in well-constrained ical signatures but typically are enriched in HFSE, are
granite-pegmatite systems where pegmatites formed often Fe-enriched, and are metaluminous to mildly
via fractional crystallization of a parent granite. The peralkaline. Frost & Frost (1997) suggested that
parent granite compositions were used as a proxy for extensional environments where the asthenosphere is
the initial pegmatite composition of the resulting at shallow levels will produce granites of varied
fractionally crystallized pegmatite. The purpose of this composition, the result of the relative contribution of
paper is not to address the pegmatite classification fractionated tholeiitic magmas and felsic continental
system, but instead to evaluate the tectonic origin of material. The tholeiitic magmas are derived from
LCT and NYF pegmatites in the overall context of either extreme differentiation of basaltic melts or by
petrogenesis of granite pegmatites that form via partial melting of underplated basalts and their
fractional crystallization of granite. differentiated equivalents. These authors further sug-
A TECTONIC EVALUATION OF PEGMATITE PARENT GRANITE 919

gested that if the crustal component is minor, reduced pegmatites range in composition from peraluminous to
rapakivi granite will form (e.g., Sherman and Wolf metaluminous. This compositional overlap may, in
River Batholiths). If the material contains substantial part, be the result of variable amounts of crustal versus
felsic crust as well as underplated crust, a wider range mantle components that comprise anorogenic, and
of compositions including metaluminous magnetite- particularly post-orogenic, magmas. It is apparent
bearing granitic rocks will be present. Lastly, associ- from this diagram that the aluminum saturation index
ated partial melting of metasedimentary rocks will is not a good tectonic discriminator for granites, and
produce peraluminous granite such as those commonly thus it is not a reliable method for differentiating the
seen in the southwestern U.S. tectonic origin of pegmatites derived from fractional
Post-orogenic, or post-collision, granites represent crystallization of granite.
a poorly defined category of plutons emplaced during Tectonic discrimination diagrams based on whole
the transitional period subsequent to an orogenic rock trace-element compositions are considerably
event. Pearce (1996) suggests that the boundary more effective in determining the petrogenetic origin
between post-collision and anorogenic conditions for granite (Pearce et al. 1984, Pearce 1996). Averaged
occurs when magmatism ceases to be linked to granite trace element compositions for all of the
orogenic processes, a boundary which is difficult to locations included in this study are shown in Figure
identify. Post-orogenic granites range from A- to I- 2a–c. The fields shown represent tectonic environ-
type in character and, because of the transitional ments and include orogenic and anorogenic granites.
tectonic setting, exhibit chemical characteristics that Orogenic granite can be subdivided into subduction-
are transitional between orogenic and anorogenic related volcanic arc (VAG) and collision-related (syn-
granites. They range in composition from weakly COL) granite. Anorogenic granite includes those that
peraluminous to weakly metaluminous (Thompson & form in within plate (WPG) and mid-ocean ridge
Barnes 1999). (ORG) tectonic settings. Förster et al. (1997), using
data from over 250 locations with known tectonic
METHODS settings, evaluated the accuracy of the Rb versus Nb þ
Y diagram in identifying the tectonic setting. These
Data were mined via an extensive literature search
authors concluded that the granitic rock trace element
in an effort to provide whole rock major and trace
concentrations correlated ‘‘to a considerable extent’’
element data for granites that are parental to well-
with tectonic setting but should be used judiciously
characterized pegmatites. Only pegmatites that were
and consider the nature of the source rock, especially
convincingly attributed to a parental granite were
in complex tectonic settings. Several areas of greater
included in this study and include 16 LCT pegmatites,
potential error were noted. First, there was an extreme
24 NYF pegmatites, and three mixed LCT-NYF
overlap within the specific types of orogenic granites
pegmatites. The pegmatite locations are given in
(WPG and VAG). Second, the post-orogenic (post-
Table 1 and the accessory mineralogy in Table 2.
COLG) granite field, which lies within the oval in
Potential sources of error when classifying pegmatites
Figure 2, compositionally overlaps portions of the syn-
based on parental granite compositions include the
COLG, VAG, and WPG granite fields. This is likely
incorrect identification of a pegmatite parent granite
because of the transitional nature of these granites as
and poor resolution of geochemical data, a problem
these at least partially mantle-derived magmas have
that is greater with older data.
been modified by significant crustal assimilation, and
DISCRIMINATION DIAGRAMS therefore contain components of both orogenic and
anorogenic granites (Pearce et al. 1984). Furthermore,
A comparison of the relative molar abundances of these granites are chemically similar to those formed
the alkali elements versus aluminum shows significant in back-arc extensional regimes (Förster et al. 1997).
overlap for granitic rocks from different tectonic Thus, it is possible to have granite with an anorogenic
settings. In orogenic settings, I-type granite is signature derived from a localized zone of extension in
generally metaluminous, whereas S-type granite a broadly compressional tectonic regime. For this
(,1.5 Ga) is peraluminous to weakly metaluminous. reason other techniques, such as general geology, age
Anorogenic granites can be metaluminous to mildly dating, or isotopic studies, may be required to
peralkaline. Post-orogenic granite is generally weakly determine if a pluton is post-orogenic, anorogenic, or
peraluminous to weakly metaluminous. Similarly, results from localized extension in a compressional
granite that is parental to LCT and NYF pegmatites tectonic regime.
exhibits this overlap (Fig. 1). In general, granites that It is apparent from the Pearce discrimination
are parental to LCT pegmatites are peraluminous, diagrams (Fig. 2a–c) that orogenic granites are
whereas those that are genetically related to NYF depleted in Nb þ Y relative to anorogenic granites.
920 THE CANADIAN MINERALOGIST

TABLE 1. GRANITE-PEGMATITE LOCATIONS INCLUDED IN THIS STUDY

Pegmatite Location Host Granite References


LCT Pegmatites
Kings X, Wisconsin, USA Hoskin Lake Granite Richardson 1998
McAllister pegmatite, Alabama, USA Rockford Granite Foord & Cook 1989
S. Maine pegmatites, USA Sebago Pluton Wise & Brown 2010
Brown Derby, Colorado, USA Quartz Creek Granite Elder 1988
San Diego Co., California, USA Peninsular Ranges Batholith Silver & Chappell 1988
Black Hills, South Dakota, USA Harney Peak, Calamity Peak Duke et al. 1992
granites
Red Cross Lake, Manitoba Canada Unnamed leucogranite Černý et al. 2012
Mavis Lake Peg. Group, Ontario, Ghost Lake Batholith Breaks & Moore 1992
Canada
NW Quebec pegmatites, Canada Lamott & Lacorne plutons Mulja et al. 1995, Mulja et al. 1996
Pinilla de Fermoselle, Zamora, Spain Two-mica leucogranite Roda-Robles et al. 2012
Elba, Italy Monte Capan Dini et al. 2001
Varuträsk pegmatite, N. Central Härnö granite Claesson & Lundqvist 1995, Černý et
Sweden al. 2004
High Himalaya, Nepal Manaslu granite LeFort et al. 1987, Černý 1991
Stak Nala, northeast Pakistan Nanga Parbat-Harmosa George et al. 1993, Laurs et al. 1998
leucogranites
Koktokay # 3 pegmatite, NW China Keketuobai Granite Zhang et al. 2008, Zhu et al. 2005
Sierras Pampeanas, northwest Achala Granite Complex Morteani et al. 1995
Argentina
NYF Pegmatites
Mount Antero, Colorado, USA Mt. Princeton Pluton; Mt. Antero Shannon 1988
Int.
South Platte, Colorado, USA Pikes Peak Batholith Simmons et al. 1987, Simmons et al.
1999
Lake George, Colorado, USA Pikes Peak Batholith Smith et al. 1999
Mt. Rosa/Stove Mtn., Colorado, USA Pikes Peak Batholith / Mt Rosa Smith et al. 1999
Granite
Trout Creek Pass District, Colorado, Unnamed granite Hanson 1990, Hanson et al. 1992
USA
Mojave District, Arizona, USA Unnamed granite dikes Brown 2010
Searchlight Dist., Nevada, USA Bat Ears & S. Ridge granites Masau 2003, Bachl et al. 2001
Barringer Hill, Llano, Texas, USA Lone Grove Pluton Ehlmann et al. 1964, Smith et al. 2010
White Mts., New Hampshire, USA Conway Granite Eby et al. 1992, Camp 2011
Wausau Complex, Wisconsin, USA Wausau Complex plutons Falster et al. 2012
Bokan Mountain, Alaska, USA Bokan Mountain Complex Dostal et al. 2013
Antigonish Highlands, Nova Scotia, Georgeville Pluton Murphy et al. 1998
Canada
McKeel Lake, southwest New Westford Intrusion Seidler et al. 2005
Brunswick, Canada
Serie dei Laghi, southwest Alps, Italy Baveno Granite Boriani et al. 1992, Pezzotta et al.
1999
Königshain, Germany Königshain granite, Lusatian Thomas et al. 2009, Hect et al. 1999
Complex
Evje-Iveland, Aust-Agder, Norway Hörvingston Complex Pederson & Konnerup-Madsen 1999
Tysfjord, Norway Tysfjord Granite Romer et al. 1992
Ytterby, Sweden Fellingsboro Granite Eliason & Schöberg 1991
Jharsugda, India Jharsuguda Granite Kumar et al. 2001
Naegi, Japan Naegi Granite, biotite granite Takafumi & Kawbe 2003, Ishihara &
Wu 2001
Klein Spitzkoppe, Namibia Klein Spitzkoppe Stock Haapala et al. 2007
Erongo Mountains, Namibia Erongo Granite (Boulder Forest) Boudreaux 2014
A TECTONIC EVALUATION OF PEGMATITE PARENT GRANITE 921

TABLE 1. CONTINUED.

Pegmatite Location Host Granite References


Catamarca, northwest Argentina El Portezuelo Granite Colombo et al. 2010
Sierra de San Luis, Argentina Potrerillos Batholith Lira et al. 2012
Mixed-Signature Pegmatites
Rau I Pegmatite, Yukon Terr., Canada Rackla Pluton Panton 2008, Cempı́rek & Groat 2014
O’Grady & Selwyn N.W.T., Canada O’Grady Batholith, Selwyn Duncan 1999, Gordy & Anderson
Plutonic Suite 1993, Ercit et al. 2003
Tørdal Pegmatites, Norway Tørdal Granite Bergstøl & Juve 1988, Anderson et al.
2009

Most granite parental to LCT-type pegmatites plots on geochemically comparable to both orogenic (syn-
the (Nb þ Y)-depleted side of the diagram in either the COLG) and anorogenic (WPG) granites (Figs. 2a–b).
VAG or syn-COLG fields. Thus, granite that is Two of these locations also fall within the post-
parental to LCT pegmatites is the result of magmatism orogenic field. Data for Ta and Yb are scarce and were
in orogenic tectonic settings. In contrast, granite that is available for only two locations that host mixed-
parental to NYF pegmatites is generally more enriched signature pegmatites. These parental granites plot
in Nb þ Y and plots on the anorogenic side of the definitively within the orogenic field (Fig. 2c).
diagram. Although many of the granites plot as It is worth noting that the Rb versus Nb þ Y
decidedly WPG, there is considerable overlap into diagram most effectively discriminates between oro-
the post-collisional (post-COLG) field. Thus, granite genic and anorogenic granite-pegmatite systems. The
that is parental to NYF pegmatites results from melting division between orogenic and anorogenic granites on
in a post-orogenic to anorogenic regime. There is also the Ta versus Yb diagram occurs at very low values of
a minor overlap at the granite-type boundaries, Yb (~1 ppm). Thus, small variations in Yb, perhaps
possibly the result of analytical error (more of a within analytical error, could result in granite compo-
problem with older data), assimilation or fractionation sitions plotting in the incorrect field.
processes within the magma chamber, or post- In an effort to better understand the individual
magmatic processes. pegmatites, averaged analyses of granite parental to
Granite that is genetically related to mixed- pegmatites of each type are plotted individually in
signature pegmatites is rare and, in the few cases Figures 3–5.
where it has been documented, exhibits highly variable
compositions. Based on Nb, Y, and Rb, granite Granites that host LCT pegmatites
parental to the three mixed-signature pegmatites is
On the Rb versus Nb þ Y plot (Fig. 3a), all of the
granites that are parental to LCT pegmatites plot as
orogenic granites, and most as collisional granites.
Granite from four localities, San Diego Co., Califor-
nia, Black Hills, South Dakota, Coosa Co., Alabama
(Rockford Granite), and Quartz Creek, Colorado all
plot within the VAG granite field. This arc-related
origin is consistent for the first two locations but not
the latter two. Specific granite intrusions of the
Peninsular Range Batholith have not been correlated
directly to the San Diego County pegmatites, thus the
analyses used for this batholith may not be from the
specific pluton that produced the pegmatites. Regard-
less, it is clear that this granite in this batholith is
related to a large-scale subduction zone that was
present along the west coast of North America during
the Cretaceous. Likewise, the ~300 Ma Rockford
FIG. 1. Molar composition of aluminum versus alkali elements Granite, which is parental to the McAllister pegmatite,
for granite parental to LCT, NYF, and mixed LCT þ NYF has been attributed to crustal shortening and anatexis
pegmatites. in an Acadian continental-oceanic subduction regime
TABLE 2. ACCESSORY MINERALOGY OF PEGMATITES INCLUDED IN THIS STUDY 922

tantalite group
oxides

Alkalinity
Beryl
Spodumene;
Lepidolite
Pollucite
Tourmaline
Apatite
Phosphates
Cassiterite
Garnet
Topaz
Columbite 
Wodginite
Other Nb-Ta
Fluorite
REE Mins

petalite
Location
LCT
Kings X, Wisconsin, USA P X X X X X X X X X X X M
McAllister pegmatite, Alabama, USA P X X X X X X X X X X X
S. Maine Pegmatites, USA P X X X X X X X X X X X
Brown Derby, Colorado, USA P X X X X X X X X X X X SE X M Xt
San Diego Co., California, USA M X X X X X X X X X X X
Black Hills, South Dakota, USA P X X X X X X X X X X
Red Cross Lake, Manitoba, Canada P X X X X X X X X X X M Xt
Mavis Lake Peg. Group, Ontario, Canada P X X X X
Northwest Quebec pegmatites, Canada P X X X X X X X
Pinilla de Fermoselle, Zamora, Spain P X X X X X
Elba, Italy P X X X X X X X X X E
Varuträsk pegmatite, North central Sweden P X X X X X X X X X X
High Himalaya, Nepal P X X X X X X X
Stak Nala, northeast Pakistan P X X X X X X X X
Koktokay # 3 pegmatite, northwest China M X X X X X X X X X
Sierras Pampeanas, northwest Argentina P X X X X X X X
THE CANADIAN MINERALOGIST

NYF
Mount Antero, Colorado, USA P/M X X X X X X M
South Platte, Colorado, USA M X X S X AM
Lake George, Colorado, USA M X X X
Mount Rosa/Stove Mtn., Colorado, USA M X X X X S X B A Xt
Trout Creek Pass, Colorado, USA P X E AM
Mojave Dist. Arizona, USA P X E B M Xt
Searchlight Dist., Nevada, USA P X X X X X X X BAM
Barringer Hill, Llano, Texas, USA Peral X F S(?) X BAG
White Mts., New Hampshire, USA M X X FS X BAMX
Wausau Complex, Wisconsin, USA M X X X X X X X X Ps T X B A M Xt
Bokan Mountain, Alaska, USA Peral X X
Antigonish Highlands, Nova Scotia, Canada P X X X Ps
McKeel Lake, SW New Brunswick, Canada P X X Ps X Xt
TABLE 2. CONTINUED.

tantalite group
oxides

Alkalinity
Beryl
Spodumene;
Lepidolite
Pollucite
Tourmaline
Apatite
Phosphates
Cassiterite
Garnet
Topaz
Columbite 
Wodginite
Other Nb-Ta
Fluorite
REE Mins

petalite
Location
Serie dei Laghi, southwest Alps, Italy P X X X Xt G
Königshain, Germany P X F X M Xt
Evje-Iveland, Aust-Agder, Norway M X X X X F X B A M Xt G
Tysfjord, Norway M X X SEF X B
Ytterby, Sweden M X X EF X B A M Xt G
Jharsugda, India P X X X
Naegi, Japan P X X X A M Xt G
Klein Spitzkoppe, Namibia P X X X X E X B
Erongo Mts., Namibia P X X X X X X X X B M Xt
Catamarca, northwest Argentina M X X X X X Ps X M Xt
Sierra de San Luis, Argentina P X X X Ps X AM
Mixed
Rau I Pegmatite, Yukon, Canada M X X X X X X X X M
O’Grady & Selwyn N.W.T., Canada M X X X X M Xt F A
A TECTONIC EVALUATION OF PEGMATITE PARENT GRANITE

Tørdal, Norway P X X X X X Ps X M

X ¼ mineral present.
P ¼ Peraluminous; M ¼ metaluminous; Peral ¼ peralkaline.
Other Nb-Ta oxides: Ps ¼ Pyrochlore supergroup; E ¼ Euxenite group; S ¼ Samarskite group; T ¼ Tapiolite; X ¼ present but not differentiated.
REE minerals: A ¼ allanite; B ¼ bastnäsite; G ¼ gadolinite; M ¼ monazite; Xt ¼ xenotime.
Note: this list is based on the above referenced literature and may be missing information.
923
924 THE CANADIAN MINERALOGIST

FIG. 2. Tectonic discrimination diagrams for averaged compositions of granite parental to LCT, NYF, and mixed LCTþNYF
pegmatites (after Pearce et al. 1984, Pearce 1996). (a) Rb versus Nb þ Y tectonic discrimination diagram. (b) Nb versus Y
tectonic discrimination diagram. The dashed line represents the upper limit of a zone of overlap between WPG from
attenuated continental lithosphere and ORG from anomalous ridge segments. (c) Ta versus Yb diagram. The dashed line
represents the upper limit of a zone of overlap between WP granites from attenuated continental lithosphere and OR granites
from anomalous ridge segments. Abbreviations: Volcanic arc granite (VAG), syn-collisional (syn-COLG), within plate
granite (WPG), post-collisional granite (post-COLG), and ocean ridge granite (ORG).

(Drummond et al. 1988). In contrast, the ca. 1.7 Ga signature simply results from a small amount of
Harney Peak and Calamity Peak granites in the Black analytical error in this older data set. The Quartz Creek
Hills are attributed to melting of a metasedimentary Granite is somewhat enigmatic, as the composition
protolith during collision associated with the Trans- plots as transitional between VAG and WPG granites
Hudson Orogeny (Krogstad & Walker 1996, Duke et and also falls within the post-COLG field.
al. 1992). These data, although compositionally within On the Nb versus Y and Ta versus Yb diagrams
the VAG field, lie very near the VAG and syn-COLG (Figs. 3b–c), granites parental to LCT pegmatites
boundary, thus it is likely that the volcanic arc generally plot within the orogenic field. On Figure 3c,
A TECTONIC EVALUATION OF PEGMATITE PARENT GRANITE 925

FIG. 3. (a–c) Tectonic discrimination diagrams for granite that is parental to LCT pegmatites (after Pearce et al. 1984, Pearce
1996). Abbreviations are as in Figure 2.

although most of the parental granites show chemical remaining discrimination diagrams. The variation in
affinities to granite that formed in collisional tectonic Ta, Nb, and Y can be correlated to location within the
settings, several of the granites plot within the WPG pluton. The outer portion of the pluton is composed of
field. As noted above, this is likely the result of biotite monzonite that compositionally falls within the
analytical error related to the low abundances of Yb. orogenic field, whereas the more fractionated musco-
Taken as a whole, there are two locations that are vite monzonite from the pluton core plots as
unusual and warrant further comment. These include anorogenic granite (Mulja et al. 1995). Thus, the
the Lamotte and Lucerne plutons in northwestern greater trace element abundances are attributed to
Quebec and the Quartz Creek Granite in Gunnison extreme inward fractional crystallization from biotite
Co., Colorado. Although the Lamotte and Lacorne monzonite to muscovite monzonite and ultimately the
plutons plot decidedly in the syn-COLG field on the pegmatites, a chemical variation noted by Förster et al.
Rb versus Nb þ Y diagram, they compositionally (1997). It should also be noted that recent evidence
straddle the orogenic–anorogenic boundary on the suggests that the Sebago Pluton may be migmatitic
926 THE CANADIAN MINERALOGIST

FIG. 4. (a–c) Tectonic discrimination diagrams for granite that is parental to NYF pegmatites (after Pearce et al. 1984, Pearce
1996). Abbreviations are as in Figure 2.

rather than the result of fractionation of a parental als typically associated with NYF pegmatites, includ-
granite (Simmons et al. 2013). ing fluorite and rare Nb-Ta-oxide minerals, are also
The Quartz Creek Granite, which hosts the Brown present.
Derby pegmatite, exhibits chemical characteristics of
both orogenic and anorogenic granite. It plots along Granites that host NYF pegmatites
the VAG–WPG boundary and within the post-COLG
field on Figure 3a and plots within the WPG field on Granite that is parental to NYF pegmatites is shown
Figures 3b and 3c. It is perhaps not surprising that the in Figure 4a–c. On both the Rb versus Y þ Nb and Nb
granite compositions are enigmatic, as the mineralogy versus Y plots most of the averaged granite compo-
of this pegmatite is also unusual. Although it is clearly sitions plot in the WPG field. However, three of the
an LCT pegmatite with abundant lepidolite and other plutons, the Mount Antero Intrusion (Fig. 4a) and the
minerals typical of LCT pegmatites, accessory miner- Trout Creek Pass and Naegi intrusions (Fig. 4b) plot
A TECTONIC EVALUATION OF PEGMATITE PARENT GRANITE 927

Antigonish Highlands in Nova Scotia; McKeel Lake,


New Brunswick; both Namibia locations; and Cata-
marca, Argentina. The Pikes Peak Batholith is also
interpreted to be anorogenic because, although some
of the pluton analyses plot in within the compositional
range of post-orogenic granite, most of the analyses
plot solely within the WPG field. Lastly, although the
analyses from the Nine Mile Pluton in the Wausau
Complex, Wisconsin plots in the field of overlap for
anorogenic and post-orogenic granites, previous stud-
ies (Simmons et al. 2012) have shown that these
plutons are anorogenic. The remainder of the pegma-
tites compositionally overlap the anorogenic and post-
orogenic fields and include: Mount Antero and Trout
Creek Pass, Colorado; Mojave Pegmatite District,
Arizona; Searchlight District, Nevada; Barringer Hill,
Texas; Tysfjord and Evje-Iveland, Norway; Ytterby,
Sweden; Jhargsugda, India; Naegi, Japan; Serie dei
Laghi, Italy; and Sierra de San Luis, Argentina.
Further information is required to determine whether
these granites are orogenic or post-orogenic in nature
and this is only given for a few of the above locations.
When plotted individually, granite parental to the
Barringer Pegmatite (Lone Grove Pluton), Mojave
pegmatites, and Trout Creek Pass pegmatites span the
VAG-WPG boundary, a characteristic typical of post-
orogenic granites (Smith et al. 2010). However, it is
important to realize that this chemical signature is
indistinguishable from that of granite that forms in a
FIG. 5. (a–b) Tectonic discrimination diagrams for granite that back-arc setting. Based on other geological consider-
is parental to mixed LCT þ NYF pegmatites (after Pearce
ations, Simmons et al. (2012) suggested that both the
et al. 1984, Pearce 1996). Abbreviations are as in Figure
Trout Creek Pass and Mojave pegmatites are associ-
2.
ated with localized rifting, perhaps resulting from
back-arc extension. This complication is also apparent
just beyond the WPG boundaries. These data plot very for the Serie de Laghi, Italy granite. Attributed to post-
near the WPG field, thus the deviation may be orogenic magmatism that occurred subsequent to peak
attributed to analytical error, as these data sets are Hercynian regional metamorphism, these granites are
older. Furthermore, it is not possible that the Trout associated with transcurrent faults that connected
Creek Pass and Naegi pegmatites are related to mid- narrow extensional basins during, and at the end of,
ocean ridge spreading. The Naegi pegmatites were uplift of the orogenic belt (Boriani et al. 1992). Lastly,
emplaced during the late Cretaceous in the area that is the Sierra de San Luis pegmatites in Argentina are
now Japan, a time when subduction was the dominant reported as occurring in a within-plate geologic setting
tectonic regime (Ishihara & Wu 2001). The Trout (Lira et al. 2012). For granite from the remainder of
Creek Pass pegmatites yielded monazite ages of 1.59 these ambiguous locations, tectonic setting of origin
6 2 Ga (Simmons et al. 2012). This, coupled with remains unclear.
the geologic setting, suggest that these pegmatites are
the result of localized extension in central Colorado Granites that host mixed signature pegmatites
during emplacement of the Trout Creek Pass pegma-
tites (Simmons et al. 2012). Mixed pegmatites that can be convincingly shown
Although granite parental to NYF pegmatites to be genetically related to a parental granite are rare.
generally plots in the WPG field, many of these The Rb versus Nb þ Y and Nb versus Y diagrams are
granites also fall within the post-COLG field (Fig. 4a). shown in Figure 5a–b. The Ta versus Yb diagram is
Granite-pegmatite systems that plot solely in the WPG not included because most of the published analyses
field and thus are clearly anorogenic in origin include: do not include these elements. At the three locations
New Hampshire pegmatites; Bokan Mountain, Alaska; where this correlation has been made, the parental
928 THE CANADIAN MINERALOGIST

granite does not appear to be the result of magmatism anorogenic granites. For granite compositions that fall
in a single tectonic setting. The O’Grady Batholith in this shared field, the specific tectonic setting (post-
compositions suggest an orogenic origin, whereas the orogenic versus orogenic or anorogenic) cannot be
Tørdal Granite plots along the orogenic–anorogenic determined using solely this analysis. Additionally,
compositional boundary. Both of these granites also granite that results from localized extension (e.g.,
have compositions that fall within the post-COLG back-arc basins) may plot within the post-GOLG field,
field. In contrast, the Rackla granite, host to the Rau a geochemical signature that does not reflect the
pegmatite, clearly exhibits chemical affinities to overall compressional tectonic setting. In summary,
anorogenic granite. Until data for more pegmatites parent granites of LCT and NYF pegmatites, and by
are available, it cannot be determined if there exists a inference the associated pegmatites, can be, based on
distinct tectonic affiliation for mixed-signature peg- the current data, differentiated geochemically with a
matites. rather high level of confidence. However, it is
important to realize that this type of analysis is not
DISCUSSION foolproof and should also be considered in light of
other geochemical considerations, such as regional
In granite-pegmatite systems, parental granite geology, pluton age determinations, etc.
compositions can be thought of as pegmatite starting Perusal of Table 2 reveals that although many
compositions, thus they do not take into account minerals are common to both LCT and NYF pegmatite
subsequent processes such as continued fractionation types, some are generally unique to each. Additionally,
of the melt, alteration by late stage fluids, and reaction some pegmatites that are characterized as NYF do not
with the country rock. It is important to realize that the appear to, based on mineral abundance, be enriched in
final pegmatite composition, and the minerals present, all three of the elements suggested by the acronym.
can be significantly modified from this starting granite For example, in pegmatites of the Trout Creek Pass
composition. In spite of these limitations, this type of and Mojave districts, fluorine-bearing minerals are rare
analysis can be informative, especially in exploration and fluorite is notably absent. Thus, these pegmatites
for pegmatite-related deposits and for their in situ are depleted in F, one of the components assumed to
evaluation, since the often incomplete exposure of be essential based on the acronym for the NYF family
zoned pegmatites precludes a direct assessment of designation. In both cases where NYF pegmatites are
pegmatite compositions. F-depleted, the parent granite clearly plots as post-
The above geochemical comparisons suggest that orogenic or anorogenic.
significant differences in pegmatite compositions can In summary, the family classification based on
be attributed to the tectonic regime in which the acronyms that describe the chemical constituents of
granitic rocks form. This is consistent with the work of pegmatites can be misleading if one of the three
Černý (1991), Černý & Ercit (2005), and Martin & typical components is not present or visible at the
DeVito (2005). It is evident that in most cases, LCT available erosional level. Regardless of whether the
and NYF pegmatites that result from fractionation of pegmatites are typical or atypical, the compiled set of
parental granite inherit distinct compositional, thus data shows that the petrochemical distinction holds,
mineralogical, characteristics from the parent granite. that LCT pegmatites are generally related to orogenic
These characteristics are determined by the tectonic granites and NYF pegmatites are generally related to
origin for the granite-pegmatite system. Pegmatites post-orogenic or anorogenic granites.
that are derived from granites formed in orogenic With so little available data for mixed-signature
tectonic regimes, such as subduction zones and pegmatites, and the ambiguous nature of geochemical
collisional boundaries, typically contain the Li-, Cs-, classification for these pegmatites using Pearce dis-
and Ta-bearing minerals that are characteristically crimination diagrams, this analysis cannot isolate a
associated with LCT pegmatites. In contrast, granites single tectonic origin for these granite-pegmatite
formed in post-orogenic and anorogenic (extensional) systems. Early reports of mixed LCT þ NYF pegmatites
tectonic settings are typically more enriched in HFSE suggested that they form in highly fractionated granite-
and REE, thus the associated pegmatites commonly pegmatite systems and exhibit a broadly NYF signature
contain Nb-Ta-Ti oxide minerals, REE-bearing min- with only a minor LCT component. The LCT
erals, and fluorite-minerals that typify NYF pegma- component may be present as accessory minerals,
tites. Although this petrogenetic classification readily trace-element LCT components in rock forming
distinguishes orogenic from anorogenic granite-peg- minerals, or as late-stage LCT pegmatites within groups
matite systems, the transitional nature of post-orogenic that are predominantly NYF (Černý 1991). For
granite results in a minor compositional overlap with example, some of the most fractionated NYF pegma-
orogenic granites and a substantial overlap with tites associated with the Tørdal granite contain
A TECTONIC EVALUATION OF PEGMATITE PARENT GRANITE 929

prominent concentrations of LCT minerals in their CONCLUSIONS


cores (Černý 1991). Similarly, pegmatites related to the
O’Grady Batholith exhibit an overall NYF signature but For granite-pegmatite systems, published whole-
grade toward LCT pegmatites in a small region of the rock granite compositions were used as a proxy for
batholith where the granite becomes pegmatitic (Ercit et pegmatite compositions and evaluated using the
al. 2003). The highly fractionated mixed LCT-NYF tectonic discrimination diagrams of Pearce et al.
pegmatites associated with the Rakla Granite contain (1984). It is evident from these diagrams that the Rb
fluorite as well as common fine-grained REE, Nb, and versus Nb þ Y diagram is more effective than the Y
Ta minerals (Scribner et al. 2015). versus Nb and Yb versus Ta diagrams in discriminat-
Martin & DeVito (2005) suggest that mixed- ing the tectonic origin of granite-pegmatite systems.
signature pegmatites are simply NYF pegmatites that The resulting plots suggest that there is a petrogenetic
have been overprinted by an LCT assemblage at the link between the tectonic regime and the type of
hydrothermal stage. The greater mobility of elements pegmatites (LCT versus NYF) that form via fraction-
that form minerals typical of LCT pegmatites, such as ation of a parental granite. Magmatism in orogenic
Li, Cs, and B, allows for the alteration and secondary tectonic settings can result in LCT pegmatites that
precipitation of these minerals in close proximity to the generally have higher abundances of LILE and B. This
NYF pegmatite minerals. These authors further suggest geochemical composition is manifested in the miner-
that the opposite does not occur because the HFSE, alogy of these pegmatites, as they typically contain Li-
which are typical of NYF pegmatites, are not generally bearing and Cs-bearing minerals as well as tourmaline
soluble, thus they cannot easily be mobilized to form group minerals. Post-orogenic and anorogenic tectonic
secondary NYF minerals in broadly LCT pegmatites. regimes, as well as localized extension in broadly
This model is consistent with observations by Černý compressional settings, can produce granite that is
(1991), who suggested that the predominant character- parental to NYF pegmatites. These pegmatites are
istic of mixed LCT-NYF pegmatites was an overall enriched in the REE and HFSE 6 F, thus typically
NYF signature. However, although the HFSE are have accessory Nb-Ta-Ti oxides, REE-bearing miner-
generally considered to be immobile in many geologic als, and in most cases fluorite. It is important to note
settings, some studies have suggested that in specific that this orogenic versus anorogenic geochemical
circumstances, such as in F-enriched peraluminous and distinction holds for pegmatites that exhibit mineral-
alkaline rocks, these elements can become mobile ogical characteristics representative of all the elements
(Jiang et al. 2005 and references therein). If this is the
in the acronyms, as well as for pegmatites that have
case, it would be possible to produced a mixed-
mineral compositions suggesting a depletion in one of
signature pegmatite by overprinting a broadly LCT
those elements.
pegmatite with a late-stage NYF mineral assemblage.
Mixed-signature pegmatites that can be attributed
Given that trace element compositions of parental
to parental granites are rare and, for the few locations
granites plot within the post-COLG or WPG fields, it
where this correlation has been made, the granite
seems plausible that some mixed pegmatites share a
post-orogenic or anorogenic origin with NYF pegma- geochemical signatures failed to converge on a single
tites. For at least the locations included in this study, tectonic setting. These parental granites plot as
the pegmatites (and perhaps parental granites) may orogenic and anorogenic granites and two of the three
have been either contaminated by digestion of locations also plot as post-orogenic granites. Earlier
undepleted crustal material (as suggested by Černý work suggests that these pegmatites exhibit an overall
& Ercit 2005) or overprinted with an LCT assemblage NYF composition with a subordinate LCT component
by an externally derived fluid phase that leads to the (Černý 1991, Černý & Ercit 2005). Given the post-
contamination of the pegmatite (as proposed by Martin orogenic to anorogenic signature of the parent
& De Vito 2005). In contrast, the mixed LCT-NYF granites, it is likely that the granite-pegmatite systems
signature exhibited by pegmatites in the Moldanubian included in this study may have been either contam-
Zone, Czech Republic, has been attributed to contam- inated by digestion of undepleted crustal material as
ination during ascent and emplacement of an LCT- suggested by Černý & Ercit (2005) or hydrothermally
pegmatite melt as it assimilated host rock material overprinted with an LCT assemblage as suggested by
composed of carbonatite-like marbles with a strong Martin and De Vito (2005). This however, is certainly
NYF-like geochemical signature (Novák et al. 2012). not the only process that forms mixed-signature
It is evident that these few case studies cannot resolve pegmatites as Novák et al. (2012) showed that
the origin of mixed-signature pegmatites and suggest pegmatites in the Moldanubian Zone, Czech Republic
that more than one process may be responsible for the resulted from assimilation of NYF components in a
formation of these unusual pegmatites. carbonatite-like marble host rock. Clearly there is
930 THE CANADIAN MINERALOGIST

much yet to learn about the geochemical and the ČERNÝ, P. (1991) Fertile granites of Precambrian rare-element
tectonic origin of mixed LCT-NYF pegmatites. pegmatite fields: is geochemistry controlled by tectonic
setting or source lithologies? Precambrian Research 51,
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 429–468.

ČERNÝ, P. & ERCIT, T.S. (2005) The Classification of Granite


The author is delighted to dedicate this article to
Pegmatites Revisited. Canadian Mineralogist 43, 2005–
William ‘‘Skip’’ Simmons and Karen Webber. I have 2026.
learned a great deal from them over the years. I am
especially indebted to Skip for sharing his love of ČERNÝ, P., CHAPMAN, R., FERRIERA, K., & SMEDS, S.-A. (2004)
pegmatites and getting me started on a fantastic Geochemistry of oxide minerals of the Nb, Ta, Sn, and Sb
lifelong journey that involves travel and pegmatite in the Varuträsk granite pegmatite, Sweden: The case of
research! Reviews by Alexander Falster, Skip Sim- an ‘‘anomalous’’ columbite-tantalite trend. American
Mineralogist 89, 505–518.
mons, Jan Cempı́rek, and Encar Roda-Robles greatly
improved this manuscript. ČERNÝ, P., HALDEN, N.M., FERREIRA, K., MEINTZER, R.E.,
BRISBIN, W.C., CHACKOWSKY, L.E., CORKERY, M.T.,
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WISE, M.A. & BROWN, C.D. (2010) Mineral chemistry, Received January 23, 2016. Revised manuscript accepted
petrology and geochemistry of the Sebago granite- May 18, 2016.