The Variscan basement of Northern Apennines (Northern Italy) is a polymetamorphic portion of continental crust. This thesis investigated the metamorphic history of this basement occurring in the Cerreto Pass, in the Pontremoli well, and in the Pisani Mountains. The study comprised fieldwork, petrography and microstructural analysis, determination of the bulk rock and mineral composition, thermodynamic modelling, conventional geothermobarometry, monazite chemical dating and Ar/Ar dating of muscovite.
The reconstructed metamorphic evolution of the selected samples allowed to define a long-lasting metamorphic history straddling the Variscan and Alpine orogenesis.
Some general petrological issues generally found in low- to medium-grade metapelites were also tackled:
(i) With middle-grade micaschist it is possible to reconstruct a complete P-T-D path by combining microstructural analysis and thermodynamic modelling. Prekinematic white mica may preserve Mg-rich cores related to the pre-peak stage. Mn-poor garnet rim records the peak metamorphism. Na-rich mylonitic white mica, the XFe of chlorite and the late paragenesis may constrain the retrograde stage.
(ii) Metapelites may contain coronitic microstructures of apatite + Th-silicate, allanite and epidote around unstable monazite grains. Chemistry and microstructure of Th-rich monazite relics surrounded by this coronitic microstructure may suggest that monazite mineral was inherited and underwent partial dissolution and fluid-aided replacement by REE-accessory minerals at 500-600°C and 5-7 kbar.
(iii) Fish-shaped white mica is not always a (prekinematic) mica-fish. Observed at high-magnification BSE images it may consist of several white mica formed during a mylonitic stage. Hence, the asymmetric foliation boudin is a suitable microstructure to obtain geochronological information about the shearing stage.
(iv) Thermodynamic modelling of a hematite-rich metasedimentary rock fails to reproduce the observed mineral compositions when the bulk Fe2O3 is neglected or determined through titration. The mismatch between observed and computed mineral compositions and assemblage is resolved by tuning the effective ferric iron content by P-XFe2O3 diagrams