Batholith tectonics: Formation and deformation of ghost stratigraphy during assembly of the mid-crustal Andalshatten batholith, central Norway


The Andalshatten batholith (322 km2,

700 km3) is a predominantly granodioritic high-K, calc-alkaline igneous body that was assembled in the mid-crust across four lithologically distinct nappes within the Helge land Nappe Complex, central Norway. Extensive vertical and horizontal exposures of metamorphic screens and xenoliths within the batholith provide an unparalleled view of the nature of magma emplacement, host rock displacement, and batholith assembly, i.e., batholith tectonics. The mapped intrusion consists of at least five distinct lithologic phases, including schlieren-banded to gneissic granodiorite (11% of batholith area), coarse-crystalline to K-feldspar megacrystic granodiorite (69%), amphibole-bearing diorite (11%), tonalite (2%), and minor leucogranite. Contacts between phases are both sharp and/or gradational and are interpreted to reflect comagmatic behavior over the duration of crystallization of the phases separated by a given contact. New chemical abrasion–thermal ionization mass spectrometry 206Pb/238U zircon weighted mean ages of 442.67 ± 0.14 Ma and 441.53 ± 0.40 Ma for 2 samples of the voluminous megacrystic granodiorite from disparate localities indicate distinct periods of zircon crystallization separated by ~1 Ma; titanite ages for these samples are 441.30 ± 0.21 Ma and 436.10 ± 2.80 Ma, respectively. No observable contacts were identified between these two lithologically similar localities. Of the mapped intrusion area, ~8% (>24 km2) comprises screens (kilometer scale) and xenoliths (subkilometer scale) of metamorphic rocks that reflect the skeletal framework of the host rock nappes into which the granodioritic magmas intruded. This ghost stratigraphy maintains broad continuity with host rock lithology and structural trends. The largest screens show no evidence of internal, emplacement-related ductile deformation, but appear to be rigidly rotated into subparallelism with the western host rock contact, presumably during subsequent magma injection into the batholith. In contrast, xenoliths underwent rotation, translation, and internal deformation in the magma. The scale dependence of synmagmatic deformation of screens and xenoliths is likely the result of smaller blocks becoming thermally equilibrated with the surrounding magma and thus deforming by ductile mechanisms in a magma with increasing yield strength due to crystallization. We interpret the Andalshatten batholith to have been assembled by at least five spatially distinct, elongate batches of magma over a minimum duration 600 ka to 1.7 Ma, including significant recharge events involving dioritic magmas. Local space for batholith assembly was accommodated by brittle and ductile deformation, including viscous fl ow of host rocks in a dynamothermal contact aureole. Viscous flow was facilitated by reactivation of existing structures (e.g., tightening of interlimb fold angles), recrystallization, and penetrative foliation development, resulting in near-field lateral and downward-directed displacement of host rocks along the western margin during batholith expansion and growth. Emplacement of dioritic magmas added heat and mass to the growing reservoir, enabling significant magnitudes of internal, hypersolidus flow, magmatic foliation development, mechanical mingling, and screen deformation. These observations and data sets are consistent with the hypothesis of multiple recharge events in a magma chamber that was partially molten over reasonably large spatial scales, thereby allowing screens and xenoliths to be incorporated and displaced and/or deformed.


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Absolute Age, Aureoles, Batholiths, Cross Sections, Europe, Diorites, Emplacement, Displacements, Faults, Granites, Granodiorites, Host Rocks, Igneous Rocks, Leucogranite, Magmas, Metamorphic Rocks, Nesosilicates, Norway, Ordovician, Orthosilicates, Paleozoic, Plutonic Rocks, Scandinavia, Silicates, Tectonics, Titanite, Tonalite, Upper Ordovician, Western Europe, Xenoliths, Zircon, Helgeland Nappe Complex, Andalshattan Batholith


Heather S. Anderson, Aaron S. Yoshinobu, Øystein Nordgulen, Kevin Chamberlain; Batholith tectonics: Formation and deformation of ghost stratigraphy during assembly of the mid-crustal Andalshatten batholith, central Norway. Geosphere 2013;; 9 (3): 667–690. doi: