Pressure–temperature evolution of the basement and cover sequences on Ios, Greece: Evidence for subduction of the Hercynian basement

Oliver M. Wolfe, Frank S. Spear, Jay B. Thomas, Eric M. Hasegawa, Grant T. Libby, John T. Cheney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


High-pressure rocks from the island of Ios in the Greek Cyclades were examined to resolve the P–T conditions reached during subduction of the two distinct lithotectonic units that are separated by the South Cycladic Shear Zone (SCSZ)—the footwall complex composed of Hercynian basement gneisses, schists and amphibolites, and the hangingwall complex composed of blueschists and eclogites. A combination of elastic tensor quartz inclusion in garnet (QuiG) barometry and Zr-in-rutile (ZiR) trace element thermometry was used to constrain minimum garnet growth conditions. Garnet from the hangingwall (blueschist) unit record formation pressures that range from 1.5 to 1.9 GPa and garnet from the footwall basement complex record garnet formation pressures of 1.65–2.05 GPa. ZiR thermometry on rutile inclusions within garnet establishes the minimum temperature for garnet formation to be ~480–500°C. That is, there is no evidence in the QuiG and ZiR results that the rocks of the blueschist hangingwall and basement experienced different metamorphic histories during subduction. This is the first reported observation of blueschist facies metamorphism in the Hercynian basement complex. A model is proposed in which initial subduction occurred along a relatively shallow P–T trajectory of ~11°C/km and then transitioned to a steeper, nearly isothermal trajectory at a depth of ~45 km reaching similar peak metamorphic conditions of ~500–525°C at 2.0 GPa for all samples. Such a change in the subduction path could be accomplished by either an increase in the rate of subduction or an increase in the angle of the subduction zone. The present juxtaposition of samples with contrasting mineral assemblages and garnet growth histories is interpreted to have arisen from differences in bulk compositions and variations in the preservation of high-pressure prograde mineral assemblages during exhumation. The existence of similar P–T conditions and prograde paths in the two units does not require that the rocks were all metamorphosed at the same time and that the SCSZ experienced little movement. Rather, it is suggested that the two units experienced prograde and peak metamorphism at different times and were subsequently juxtaposed along the SCSZ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1119-1141
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Metamorphic Geology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 2023


  • Cyclades
  • Ios
  • QuiG barometry
  • Zr-in-rutile thermometry
  • blueschists
  • eclogites
  • subduction zones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


Dive into the research topics of 'Pressure–temperature evolution of the basement and cover sequences on Ios, Greece: Evidence for subduction of the Hercynian basement'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this