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Interlayered biotite-kaolin and other altered biotites, and their relevance to the biotite isograd in eastern Otago, New Zealand

  • D. Craw (a1), D. S. Coombs (a1) and Y. Kawachi (a1)

Abstract

Green biotite-like material occurring in Haast Schist at Brighton, eastern Otago, consists of biotite and a kaolin-group mineral interlayered on a 1 μm scale. Electron probe analyses of composite grains show K2O contents of 4.4 to 8.5 wt.%, in part reflecting the kaolin content, and in part, leaching of K+ ions. Phengitic muscovite shows similar but less extreme effects. Kaolin, siderite, calcite, and titanium oxides have formed in the rock during hydrothermal alteration of epidote, sphene, and biotite by carbonated waters. Potassium leaching due to surficial weathering processes appears to be widespread in biotites from the schists of eastern Otago, and biotites (hydrobiotites?) with K2O as low as 4 wt. % are reported. Similar material with 0.8 to 2.4% K2O and with Na2O about 1% is thought to be more highly degraded biotite. Microprobe analyses of kaolin and chlorites from associated rocks are given in addition to those of ‘biotite’ and phengitic muscovite. Analyses of sheet biotite and sheet muscovite from the Mataketake Range pegmatites in the highest grade parts of the Haast Schist terrane are presented for comparison. The study shows that biotite is more widespread in eastern Otago than was previously thought, and that almandine-rich garnet is not confirmed down-grade of the first appearance of biotite in eastern Otago.

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