- © 2000 Cambridge University Press
The Western Gneiss Region of Norway is a continental terrane that experienced Caledonian high-pressure and ultrahigh-pressure metamorphism. Most rocks in this terrane show either peak-Caledonian eclogite-facies assemblages or are highly strained and equilibrated under late-Caledonian amphibolite-facies conditions. However, three kilometre-size rock bodies (Flatraket, Ulvesund and Kråkenes) in Outer Nordfjord preserve Pre-Caledonian igneous and granulite-facies assemblages and structures. Where these assemblages are preserved, the rocks are consistently unaffected by Caledonian deformation. The three bodies experienced high-pressure conditions (20–23 kbar) but show only very localized (about 5 %) eclogitization in felsic and mafic rocks, commonly related to shear zones. The preservation of Pre-Caledonian felsic and mafic igneous and granulite-facies assemblages in these bodies, therefore, indicates widespread (~ 95 %) metastability at pressures higher than other metastable domains in Norway. Late-Caledonian amphibolite-facies retrogression was limited. The degree of reaction is related to the protolith composition and the interaction of fluid and deformation during the orogenic cycle, whereby metastability is associated with a lack of deformation and lack of fluids, either as a catalyst or as a component in hydration reactions. The three bodies appear to have been far less reactive than the external gneisses in this region, even though they followed a similar pressure–temperature evolution. The extent of metastable behaviour has implications for the protolith of the Western Gneiss Region, for the density evolution of high-pressure terranes and hence for the geodynamic evolution of mountain belts.