The Burmese Jade Mines belt: origins of jadeitites, serpentinites and ophiolitic peridotites and gabbros

M.P. Searle*, R.M. Palin, N.J. Gardiner, Kyi Htun, J. Wade

*Corresponding author for this work

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Ophiolitic peridotites in Burma (Myanmar) occur along three major tectonic zones, the Kaleymyo–Nagaland suture, Indo-Burman ranges, the Jade Mines belt, and the Tagaung–Mytkyina belt. These belts all show harzburgite–lherzolite–dunite peridotites, but the Hpakan-Taw Maw region (Jade Mines belt) hosts jadeitites including pure jadeite, mawsitsit (chromium-rich jadeite) kosmochlore (chromium-rich clinopyroxene), and albitite. High Na and Al contents of jadeitites require either very unusual Al-rich, Si-poor protoliths, or extensive fluid metasomatism, or both. The Hpakan jadeitites formed by Na-, Al-, (and Si) metasomatic alteration of pyroxenite–wehrlite intrusions into harzburgite–dunite, from widespread fluid alteration. Fluids could have been derived from a mid-Jurassic intermediate pressure subduction event during ophiolite formation and emplacement. In the Indawgyi Lake area, normal ophiolitic peridotites, including harzburgite and dunite with pyroxenite veins, have not been jadeitised. Gabbros related to the Jade Mines ophiolite gave a U-Pb zircon age of 169.71±1.3 Ma (MSWD 2.2), similar timing to the Myitkyina ophiolite (173 Ma) to the east, suggesting that the ophiolite belts were originally continuous. The jade ‘boulders’ in the Uru conglomerate beds at Hpakan have also resulted from normal in situ serpentinisation weathering processes, followed by limited fluvial mass transport processes along the Uru river.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberjgs2023-004
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the Geological Society
Issue number4
Early online date21 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2023


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