Jadeitites, albitites, eclogites, metabasites and related rocks from Guatemala and elsewhere

This is a long-term geological study of the occurrence of jadeite rock and other metasomatic inclusions in serpentinite mélange along the Motagua Fault Zone of Guatemala. The study was started to learn about the unusual provenance and mineralogy of jadeite rocks (and associated lithologies) in their limited (12 or so) occurrences world-wide but particularly from the heretofore inadequately studied localities in Guatemala. The goal of this research is to develop an understanding of the crystal chemistry and phase relations of extant minerals and to determine the petrogenesis of these rocks (and their relationship to blueschists and eclogites), the P-T path, the degree of metasomatism/fluid-rock interactions, and the tectonic controls involved (Harlow 1994a). The study has also extended to the nature and provenance of Middle American jade, the archaeological context of Guatemalan jadeitites (Harlow 1993; Harlow et al. 2006). A study was completed on Ba-enrichments in micas that occur in many metasomatic inclusions in serpentinite along the Motagua Fault Zone of Guatemala (Harlow 1995).  A National Science Foundation (NSF) project commenced in 2004, with many results on interpreting the timing of events (multiple collisions at ~ 130 and 70 Ma involving the North American and Caribbean plates), probable origin of jadeitite from subduction zone fluids sampling both altered oceanic crust and continentally derived sediments, the fluids interaction with metamorphosed oceanic basalts (eclogite), and fluid mediated interaction of tectonic blocks and host peridotite/serpentinite.  Comparable work is independently being done on other jadeitite producing areas including Japan, Myanmar (Burma), and Cuba.

     These pages are designed to show the progress of the project and provide visitors a view of rocks, expeditions, presentations and interpretations.

Recent References
  • Sorensen, S.S., Sisson, V.B., Harlow, G.E. and Avé Lallemant, H.G. (2010)  Element Residence and Transport During Subduction Zone Metasomatism:  Evidence from a Jadeitite-Serpentinite Contact, Guatemala.  International Geology Review 52 (9), 899-940.

  • Simons, K.K., Harlow, G.E., Sorensen, S.S. Brueckner, H.K., Goldstein, S.L., Hemming, N.G., and Langmuir, C.H. (2010)  Lithium isotopes in Guatemala and Franciscan HP-LT Rocks: insights into the role of sediment-derived fluids in the mantle wedge.  Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 74, 3621-3641.

  • Harlow, G. E., Sisson, V.B., and Sorensen, S.S. (2011)  Jadeitite from Guatemala:  Distinctions among multiple occurrences. Geologica Acta. (Reprint)