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Establishing a protocol for the selection of zircon inclusions in garnet for Raman thermobarometry

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Campomenosi Nicola , RubattoDaniela, Hermann Joerg , MihailovaBoriana , Scambelluri Marco , Alvaro Matteo ,
Project Tracing the invisible path of fluids in the crust with microscale oxygen isotope measurements in key metamorphic minerals
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal American Mineralogist
Volume (Issue) 105(7)
Page(s) 992 - 1001
Title of proceedings American Mineralogist
DOI 10.2138/am-2020-7246

Open Access


The structural and chemical properties of zircon inclusions in garnet megablasts from the Dora Maira Massif (Western Alps, Italy) were characterized in detail using charge contrast imaging, Raman spectroscopy, and laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). The aim of this work is to determine to what extent the degree of metamictization, metamorphic recrystallization, inherent structural heterogeneity, chemical composition, and zoning, along with the elastic stress imposed by the host mineral, can influence the Raman peak position of the zircon inclusion and hence, the residual pressure estimated via Raman geo-thermobarometry. We show and confirm that metamictization and inherent structural heterogeneity have a major influence in the Raman spectra of zircon in terms of peak position and peak width. We suggest that, for spectral resolution of 2 cm−1, the peak width of the B1g mode near 1008 cm−1 of reliable grains must be smaller than 5 cm−1. The method can be applied to both inherited igneous and newly formed Alpine metamorphic crystals. By coupling structural and chemical information, we demonstrate that there are no significant differences between the Raman spectra of zircon with oscillatory-zoned texture, formed during magmatic crystallization, and those formed by fluid-induced Alpine (re)crystallization. The discrimination between magmatic and metamorphic zircon based only on micro-textural constraints is not robust. Finally, our results allow establishing a protocol devoted to the selection of reliable buried zircon inclusions, relying only on Raman spectroscopic measurements, to use for elastic thermobarometry applications.