The Cooma Metamorphic Complex, a low-P, high-T (LPHT) regional aureole beneath the Murrumbidgee Batholith

Richards, S.W., and Collins, W.J. (2002) The Cooma Metamorphic Complex, a low-P, high-T (LPHT) regional aureole beneath the Murrumbidgee Batholith. Journal of Metamorphic Geology, 20 (1). pp. 119-134.

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The Cooma Complex of the Lachlan Fold Belt, south-eastern Australia, is characterised by a large (c. 10 km wide) low-P, high-T metamorphic aureole surrounding a small (3 × 6 km) granite pluton. The aureole extends northward to envelop the eastern lobe of the Murrumbidgee Batholith and progressively narrows to a kilometre wide hornfelsic aureole some 50 km north of Cooma. At its northern extremity, the batholith has intruded its own volcanic cover. These regional relations suggest that the Murrumbidgee Batholith is gently tilted to the north, with the Cooma Complex representing the aureole beneath the batholith.

Two main deformation events, D3 and D5, affected the aureole. The inner, high-grade migmatitic domain contains upright F5 folds defined by a composite, transposed S3/S0 fabric and S3/S0 concordant leucosomes. The folded stromatic migmatites define the western limb of a F5 synform, with its axis located in the batholith. Lenses and sheets of the Murrumbidgee Batholith intruded along S3 but also preserve S3 as a strong, solid-state foliation. S3 and the granite sheets but are also folded by F5, outlining a fanning positive flower structure. These relations indicate that most of the batholith was emplaced before and during D3, but intrusion persisted until early syn-D5.

Formation of the Cooma Granodiorite occurred post-D3 to early syn-D5, after formation of the wide metamorphic aureole during early syn-D3 to early syn-D5. The Murrumbidgee Batholith was emplaced between pre-D3 to early syn-D5, synchronous with the formation of the Cooma Complex. The structural and metamorphic relations indicate that the Murrumbidgee Batholith was the ultimate heat source responsible for the Cooma Metamorphic Complex.

D3 structures and metamorphic isograds are subparallel to the batholith margin for over 50 km. This concordance probably extends vertically, suggesting that the isograds also fan outward from the batholith margin. This implies an inverted metamorphic sequence focused on the Murrumbidgee Batholith, although the base has been almost completely removed by erosion in the Cooma Complex. The field evidence at Cooma, combined with previous thermal modelling results, suggest that extensive LPHT metamorphic terranes may represent regional metamorphic aureoles developed beneath high-level granitic batholiths.

Item ID: 4702
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1525-1314
Keywords: Cooma Complex, Lachlan Fold Belt, LPHT metamorphism, Murrumbidgee Batholith
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2009 05:27
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