Crystallisation of Fine- and Coarse-Grained A-type Granite Sheets of the Southern Oklahoma Aulacogen, U.S.A.


A-type felsic magmatism associated with the Cambrian Southern Oklahoma Aulacogen began with eruption of voluminous rhyolite to form a thick volcanic carapace on top of an eroded layered mafic complex. This angular unconformity became a crustal magma trap and was the locus for emplacement of later subvolcanic plutons. Rising felsic magma batches ponding along this crustal magma trap crystallised first as fine-grained granite sheets and then subsequently as coarser-grained granite sheets. Aplite dykes, pegmatite dykes and porphyries are common within the younger coarser-grained granite sheets but rare to absent within the order fine-grained granite sheets. The older fine-grained granite sheets typically contain abundant granophyre.

The differences between fine-grained and coarse-grained granite sheets can largely be attributed to a progressive increase in the depth of the crustal magma trap as the aulacogen evolved. At low pressures ( < 200MPa) a small increase in the depth of emplacement results in a dramatic increase in the solubility of H2O in felsic magmas. This is a direct consequence of the shape of the H2O-saturated granite solidus. The effect of this slight increase in total pressure on the crystallisation of felsic magmas is to delay vapour saturation, increase the H2O content of the residual melt fractions and further depress the solidus temperature. Higher melt H2O contents, and an extended temperature range over which crystallisation can proceed, both favour crystallisation of coarser-grained granites. In addition, the potential for the development of late, H2O-rich, melt fractions is significantly enhanced. Upon reaching vapour saturation, these late melt fractions are likely to form porphyries, aplite dykes and pegmatite dykes.

For the Southern Oklahoma Aulacogen, the progressive increase in the depth of the crustal magma trap at the base of the volcanic pile appears to reflect thickening of the volcanic pile during rifting, but may also reflect emplacement of earlier granite sheets. Thus, the change in textural characteristics of granite sheets of the Wichita Granite Group may hold considerable promise as an avenue for further investigation in interpreting the history of this rifting event.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Crustal Magma Traps; Granite Emplacement; Rifting; Crystallization; Magmatism; P-T Conditions; United States

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Article - Journal

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© 2000 Royal Society of Edinburgh, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2000