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Zircon chronochemistry of high heat-producing granites in\ud Queensland and Europe

By V. Marshall, K. Knesel and S.E. Bryan


High heat-producing granites (HHPGs) are reservoir rocks for enhanced geothermal systems (EGS), yet the origins of their anomalous chemistry remain poorly understood.\ud To gain a better understanding of the characteristic distribution of elemental depletions and enrichments (focussing on U, Th & K) within granite suites of different heritage and tectonic setting, and the processes that lead to these enrichments, we are undertaking a systematic\ud accessory-mineral chronochemical study of two suites of S- and I-type granites in northern Queensland, as well as two archetypal HHPGs in Cornwall, England (S-type) and Soultz-sous- ForĂȘts, France (I-type). Novel zircon LA-ICP-MS chronochemical methods will later be underpinned by a systematic petrographic, scanning electron microscope\ud (SEM), and electron microprobe (EPMA) study of all the REE-Y-Th-U-rich accessory minerals to fully characterise how the composition, textural distributions and associations change with rock chemistry between and among the suites. Preliminary results indicate that zircons with\ud inherited ages do not have anomalously high U (>1000 ppm) & Th (>400 ppm) values (Ahrens, 1965). Instead, enrichment in these HPE is seen in zircons dated to around the time of magmatic emplacement. These results indicate that\ud enrichment arose primarily through fractional crystallisation of the granitic magmas. Our results support the suggestion that a source pre-enriched in the HPEs does not appear to be fundamental for the formation of all HHPGs.\ud Instead fractional crystallisation processes, and the accessory minerals formed in magmas of differing initial compositions, are the key controls on the levels of enrichment observed (e.g. Champion & Chappell, 1992; Chappell & Hine, 2006). One implication is that the most\ud fractionated granites may not be the most enriched in the HPEs and therefore prospective to future EGS development.\u

Topics: High heat-producing granites (HHPGs), Heat-producing elements (HPEs), Source Composition, Fractional Crystallisation;, Zircon
Publisher: Geoscience Australia
Year: 2012
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