Petrogenesis of A-type granites and origin of vertical zoning in the Katharina pluton, Gebel Mussa (Mt. Moses) area, Sinai, Egypt

Y. Katzir, M. Eyal, B. A. Litvinovsky, B. M. Jahn, A. N. Zanvilevich, J. W. Valley, Y. Beeri, I. Pelly, E. Shimshilashvili

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The central pluton within the Neoproterozoic Katharina Ring Complex (area of Gebel Mussa, traditionally believed to be the biblical Mt. Sinai) shows a vertical compositional zoning: syenogranite makes up the bulk of the pluton and grades upwards to alkali-feldspar granites. The latters form two horizontal subzones, an albite-alkali feldspar (Ab-Afs) granite and an uppermost perthite granite. These two varieties are chemically indistinguishable. Syenogranite, as compared with alkali-feldspar granites, is richer in Ca, Sr, K, Ba and contains less SiO2, Rb, Y, Nb and U; Eu/Eu* values are 0.22-0.33 for syenogranite and 0.08-0.02 for alkali-feldspar granites. The δ18O (Qtz) is rather homogeneous throughout the pluton, 8.03-8.55‰. The δ18O (Afs) values in the syenogranite are appreciably lower relative to those in the alkali-feldspar granites: 7.59-8.75‰ vs. 8.31-9.12‰. A Rb-Sr isochron (n = 9) yields an age of 593 ± 16 Ma for the Katharina Ring Complex (granite pluton and ring dikes). The alkali-feldspar granites were generated mainly by fractional crystallization of syenogranite magma. The model for residual melt extraction and accumulation is based on the estimated extent of crystallization (∼ 50 wt.%), which approximates the rigid percolation threshold for silicic melts. The fluid-rich residual melt could be separated efficiently by its upward flow through the rigid clusters of crystal phase. Crystallization of the evolved melt started with formation of hypersolvus granite immediately under the roof. Fluid influx from the inner part of the pluton to its apical zone persisted and caused increase of PH2O in the magma below the perthite granite zone. Owing to the presence of F and Ca in the melt, PH2O of only slightly more than 1 kbar allows crystallization of subsolvus Ab-Afs granite. Abundance of turbid alkali feldspars and their 18O/16O enrichment suggest that crystallization of alkali-feldspar granites was followed by subsolvus fluid-rock interaction; the δ18O (Fsp) values point to magmatic origin of fluids. The stable and radiogenic isotope data [δ18O (Zrn) = 5.82 ± 0.06‰, ISr = 0.7022 ± 0.0064, εNd (T) values are + 3.6 and + 3.9] indicate that the granite magma was generated from a 'juvenile' source, which is typical of the rocks making up most of the Arabian-Nubian shield.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-228
Number of pages21
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 1 May 2007


  • A-type granite
  • Alkali-feldspar granite
  • Fractional crystallization
  • Oxygen and Sr-Nd isotopes
  • Vertical zoning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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