Studies of the paragenesis and U-Pb systematics of monazite in rocks from the eastern Mojave Desert, California, corroborate its potential usefulness as a prograde thermochronometer and in dating granite inheritance. Unmetamorphosed Latham Shale and its equivalents at grades ranging from greenschist to upper amphibolite facies are virtually identical in composition. Monazite is absent in the shale and low-grade schists, but it is abundant in schists at staurolite and higher grades. Lower-grade schists instead include minute Th- and Ce-oxides and unidentified Ce-poor LREE-phosphates that apparently are lower-temperature precursors to monazite. Thus monazite originates when the pelite passes through lower-amphibolite-facies conditions. Monazites from three Upper Cretaceous granites yield ages that are strongly discordant. Upper intercepts of 1.6-1.7 Ga are similar to those defined by U-Pb data for coexisting zircons and coincide with a period of copious magmatism in the Mojave crust. As the host Upper Cretaceous granitic magmas were all above 700??C, effective closure of the restitic monazites to Pb loss must be well in excess of this temperature. U-Pb compositions of monazite from Proterozoic granitoids and schist also indicate high Pb retentivity. Taken together, these studies support the suggestion that monazite can be an effective prograde thermochronometer. At least in pelites, it is not usually retained as a detrital mineral, but rather forms during moderate-temperature metamorphism. Its U-Pb system should not be reset by subsequent higher-grade metamorphism. ?? 1993.
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Monazite paragenesis and U-Pb systematics in rocks of the eastern Mojave Desert, California, U.S.A.: implications for thermochronometry