Age of the emerald mineralization from the Itabira-Nova Era District, Minas Gerais, Brazil, based on LA-ICP-MS geochronology of cogenetic titanite

ABSTRACT: In the Itabira-Nova Era Emerald District, southeast Brazil, gemological emerald is extracted from underground mines found in schist-type deposits at the contact zone of the Archean Metavolcanosedimentary Sequence of the Guanhães Complex and Paleoproterozoic anorogenic granites of the Borrachudos Suite. Schist-type deposits are commonly generated by reactions enhanced by deformation and heat during regional metamorphism. The age of the mineralization in the region has been a matter of debate for decades: Ages ranging from the Archean to the Neoproterozoic are mentioned in the literature. In the mineralized zone from the Piteiras mine fluorine-aluminum-bearing titanite is found in metamafic rocks. The fluorine content was probably derived from the Borrachudos granites and pegmatites like the beryllium for emerald, thus both minerals could have been generated during the same event. U-Pb titanite geochronology via laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) was performed on a thin section of a phlogopite-plagioclase-hornblende schist from the Piteiras mine. The determined age of 576 ± 7 Ma is also the probable age for emerald generation during the Brasiliano cycle, which was the only tectonometamorphic event postdating the intrusion of the granites. This event provided heat and fluids necessary for reactions between the Be- and the Cr-bearing rocks, thus enabling the formation of emeralds.