The robustness of the Lu-Hf and Sm-Nd isotopic systems during metamorphism – And case study of the Åker metabasite in southern Sweden

Andreas Petersson, Ulf Söderlund, Anders Scherstén, Tod Waight, Mimmi K.M. Nilsson, Jeff Vervoort

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While whole-rock Lu-Hf isotope analysis remains one of the only ways to obtain initial Hf isotope signatures of old mafic rocks, Hf isotope analyses of more robust accessory zircon in intermediate to silicic rocks have largely replaced whole-rock analyses during the last decade. This has led to a discrepancy in the amount of existing data from mafic and felsic lithologies. However, especially in mafic, Si-poor rocks with a metamorphic imprint, Hf isotope data rely on whole-rock analysis since baddeleyite, commonly used for U-Pb age analyses of mafic rocks, is sensitive to alteration and metamorphism. Hence, to accurately evaluate the trace element and isotope signatures of altered mafic rocks, it is important to understand the mechanisms of element mobility during metamorphism. Here, we report whole-rock trace element compositions, Lu-Hf and Sm-Nd isotope data from variably deformed and metamorphosed samples of a mafic intrusion in southern Sweden, the Åker metabasite. These data suggest that trace elements were undisturbed on a whole-rock sample scale during deformation at upper amphibolite facies (at least 1000 MPa and 600 °C) metamorphism under hydrated conditions. Despite redistribution of Zr associated with the breakdown of baddeleyite and other igneous phases, the Åker metabasite has retained its chemical and isotopic integrity since igneous crystallisation at ca. 1565 Ma. This study demonstrates and strengthens the feasibility of whole-rock analyses of (meta-)mafic rocks for determining initial εNd and εHf values, despite deformation and metamorphism under hydrated amphibolite-grade metamorphic conditions. Testing the coherence of the calculated initial Nd and Hf isotope ratios by examining variably deformed and metamorphosed varieties of a rock in a single outcrop, could be used as a model for research on more complex Archean rocks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107122
JournalPrecambrian Research
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Geology

Free keywords

  • Isotopic integrity
  • Lu-Hf
  • Metabasite
  • Metamorphism
  • Sm-Nd


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