Geothermometry and Geobarometry

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Definition

The estimation of pressure and temperature conditions at which a geologic material formed is referred to as geobarometry and geothermometry, respectively, and collectively termed geothermobarometry. Geothermometers and geobarometers are commonly based on mineral assemblage and mineral composition information. This brief article emphasizes mineral-based geothermobarometry; however, estimation of pressure and temperature information is not restricted to investigations of solid phases and the principles discussed have more generic applications. The fundamental premise of geothermobarometry is that a rock's mineral assemblage and mineral compositions are sensitive to pressure and temperature conditions of formation and that events subsequent to mineral equilibration have not significantly modified these rock properties. The development of a geothermometer or geobarometer typically requires extensive experimental and theoretical calibration prior to use