Folded sheets of Mesoarchaean, leucocratic plagioclase-K-feldspar-mesoperthite-bearing granitic rocks in the Toqqusap Nunaa area of the Maniitsoq structure, West Greenland, are characterised by their very fine grain sizes and microstructures without normal igneous or planar/linear tectonic fabrics. Quartz forms equidimensional and branching, ductilely deformed aggregates and bifurcating panels with protrusions, constrictions and chains of ball-shaped grains with healed, radiating intergranular fractures. Plagioclase (An 10-20) was cataclastically deformed and comminuted, whereas K-feldspar and mesoperthite are devoid of cataclastic microstructures. K-feldspar forms dispersed, highly irregular grains with numerous cusps and saddles, indicating almost ubiquitous direct (shock) melting of this mineral. It is commonly located along former fractures in plagioclase, resulting in an 'interlaced' feldspar microstructure with contact shapes indicating subsequent melting of plagioclase directly adjacent to K-feldspar. Mesoperthite forms separate, rounded, and irregular grains with protrusions and cusped margins indicating crystallisation from melts. Some mesoperthite grains are texturally and compositionally heterogeneous and contain internal lenses of K-feldspar and/or plagioclase. Other mesoperthite grains comprise coarsened, 'unzipped' areas, presumably due to localised, fluid-controlled dissolution-reprecipitation processes. The ternary feldspar precursor of the mesoperthite is interpreted as having crystallised from variably effectively mixed K-feldspar shock melts and plagioclase contact melts. Direct melting of K-feldspar, but no whole-rock melting, requires shock metamorphism with a short-lived temperature excursion to above the melting temperature of K-feldspar (~ 1300 °C). The presence of three different feldspar species and absence of chemical zonation, magmatic mantling, or metamorphic coronas furthermore hinders interpretations solely by means of endogenic magmatic or ultrametamorphic processes. The feldspar microstructures with direct K-feldspar melts in the leucocratic orthogneisses of the Toqqusap Nunaa area thus confirm that the recently discovered Maniitsoq structure represents the deep-crustal remnants of a giant Mesoarchaean meteorite impact.
- Direct melting
- Maniitsoq structure
- Shock metamorphism
- Programme Area 4: Mineral Resources