Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 117, Issue 4, pp 331–344

Systematics of internal zircon morphology in major Variscan granitoid types

  • Gerhard Vavra

DOI: 10.1007/BF00307269

Cite this article as:
Vavra, G. Contr. Mineral. and Petrol. (1994) 117: 331. doi:10.1007/BF00307269


The internal morphologies of zircon crystals from different types of granitoids (alkaline, calcalkaline and anatectic) are revealed by cathodoluminescence imaging and are described in terms of growth rates of the crystal faces relative to each other. Zircons in the alkaline granitoids are characterized by high and constant growth rates of {010} relative to the pyramidal forms and by symmetric grwoth of {011}. Zircons in the calcalkaline and anatectic granitoids are characterized by fluctuating or gradually decreasing relative growth rates of {010}, by asymmetric and highly variable growth of {011}, and by a tendency of {110} to become grwoth-inhibited. Corrosion events are interspersed during zircon growth in the calcalkaline magmas. In the calcalkaline and anatectic magmas, a discontinuity breaks the morphological evolution at late stages of crystallization. The discontinuity coincides with a sharp drop in cathodoluminescence. The growth behaviour of each crystal form is analysed and compared with predictions made by the periodic bond chain (PBC) theory. It is argued that the relative growth rate of {010} depends on supersaturation, that the growth rates of {011} faces are changed in response to different ratios of adsorbing cations (Na, K, Al), and that {110} faces become growth-inhibited by the adsorption of H2O or trace elements enriched in the residual liquid. Morphological and chemical discontinuities at late stages of crystallization are reasonably explained by the formation of larger growth units (from smaller ionic entities) in the residual liquid. Important factors controlling the zircon morphology in different types of granitoids are: high cooling rates (alkaline magmas), magma mixing (calcalkaline magmas), enrichment of H2O and trace elements in residual liquids (calcalkaline and anatectic magmas), and the major element chemistry of the magma, possibly the ratio of Na and K to Al (agpaicity).

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerhard Vavra
    • 1
  1. 1.Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule ZürichInstitut für Kristallographie und PetrographieZürichSwitzerland