Paleozoic serpentine-enclosed chromitites from Tehuitzingo (Acatlán Complex, SW Mexico): a petrological and mineralogical study
The serpentinites and associated chromitite bodies in Tehuitzingo (Acatlán Complex, southern Mexico) are in close relationship with eclogitic rocks enclosed within a metasedimentary sequence, suggesting that the serpentinites, chromitites and eclogitic rocks underwent a common metamorphic history. Primary chromites from the chromitite bodies at Tehuitzingo are of refractory-grade (Al-rich) and have a chemical composition similar to that expected to be found in an ophiolitic environment. The chromite grains in chromitites and serpentinites are systematically altered to 'ferritchromite'. The alteration trend is usually characterized by a decrease in the Al, Mg and Cr contents coupled by an increase in Fe3+ and Fe2+. The Tehutizingo chromitites have low Platinum Group Elements (PGE) contents, ranging from 102 to 303 ppb. The chondrite-normalized PGE patterns are characterized by an enrichment in the Ir-subgroup elements (IPGE=Os, Ir, Ru) relative to the Pd-subgroup elements (PPGE=Rh, Pt, Pd). In addition, all chromitite samples display a negative slope from Ru to Pd [(Os+Ir+Ru)/(Pt+Pd)=4.78-14.13]. These patterns, coupled with absolute PGE abundances, are typical of ophiolitic chromitites elsewhere. Moreover, all the analyzed samples exhibit chondrite-normalized PGE patterns similar to those found for non-metamorphosed ophiolitic chromitites. Thus, the PGE distribution patterns found in the Tehuitzingo chromitites have not been significantly affected by any subsequent Paleozoic high-pressure (eclogite facies) metamorphic event. The chondrite-normalized PGE patterns of the enclosing serpentinites also indicate that the PGE distribution in the residual mantle peridotites exposed in Tehuitzingo was unaffected by high-pressure metamorphism, or subsequent hydrothermal alteration since the serpentinites show a similar pattern to that of partially serpentinized peridotites present in mantle sequences of non-metamorphosed ophiolites. Our main conclusion is that the chromitites and serpentinites from Tehuizingo experienced no significant redistribution (or concentration) of PGE during the serpentinization process or the high-pressure metamorphic path, or during subsequent alteration processes. If any PGE mobilization occurred, it was restricted to individual chromitite bodies without changing the bulk-rock PGE composition. Our data suggest that the Tehuitzingo serpentinites and associated chromitites are a fragment of oceanic lithosphere formed in an arc/back-arc environment, and represent an ophiolitic mantle sequence from a supra-subduction zone, the chemical composition of which remained essentially unchanged during the alteration and metamorphic events that affected the Acatlán Complex. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Acatlán Complex; Chromitites; Eclogite-facies metamorphism; Mexico; Platinum-group elements; Serpentinites; Tehuitzingo
To Cite this article: Proenza, J.A., Ortega-Gutiérrez, F., Camprubí, A., Tritlla, J., Elías-Herrera, M., Reyes-Salas, M.(2004): Paleozoic serpentine-enclosed chromitites from Tehuitzingo (Acatlán Complex, SW Mexico): a petrological and mineralogical study. Journal of South American Earth Sciences, 16, 649-666.