Eclogite varieties and petrotectonic evolution of the northern Guatemala Suture Complex

Uwe Martens, Tatsuki Tsujimori, Juhn G. Liou

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Field and petrologic characteristics of two new eclogite localities within the Guatemala Suture Complex (GSC) north of the Motagua Fault are presented. The Tuncaj Hill locality exposes a coherent body of retrogressed eclogite hundreds of metres long that is associated with serpentinite of the North Motagua Unit. The Tanilar River locality exposes numerous bands and lenses of eclogite hosted in sialic gneisses of the Chuacús Complex. The Tuncaj eclogite has a two-stage prograde evolution containing the peak assemblage Grt + Omp + Ttn + Czo + Zo ± Am, formed at temperatures <720°C. In contrast, eclogites of the Tanilar unit are characterized by the paragenesis Omp + Grt + Rt ± Phg ± Qtz ± Ep giving higher peak conditions of T = 720–830°C and P = 2.1–2.7 GPa, near the stability field of coesite. Previously obtained data and our thermobaric calculations suggest distinct petrotectonic evolutions for the various types of eclogites within the suture. The lawsonite eclogites south of the Motagua Fault were probably produced in a mature Farallon subduction zone during the Early Cretaceous. The northern high-pressure (HP) blocks in serpentinite mélange and coherent amphibolite bodies with eclogite relics were generated by the Early Cretaceous subduction of the proto-Caribbean lithosphere under the Great Caribbean Arc. A continental block, the North American passive margin, reached the arc’s trench in the Campanian and was subducted to ca. 80 km depth, producing the eclogites of the Chuacús Complex. As the slab was delaminated and partially exhumed, the continental Chuacús became tectonically juxtaposed with HP blocks of the proto-Caribbean that had been accreted to the Caribbean plate forming the North Motagua Unit. The juxtaposed group migrated to mid-crustal level and was contemporaneously retrogressed under epidote-amphibolite facies conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)721-740
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Geology Review
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Apr 26


  • arc–continent collision
  • Chuacús Complex eclogite
  • Guatemala Suture Complex
  • high-pressure metamorphism
  • Serpentinite- and gneissic-hosted eclogites


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