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Amphibole zonation in metabasites as a guide to the evolution of metamorphic conditions


In low grade metabasites the amphibole components tremolite, glaucophane, edenite and tschermakite have their activities controlled by interactions with the excess components albite, clinozoisite, chlorite, quartz and H2O vapor. Three types of reaction are involved, (i) Those in which only components of condensed phases take part: isopleths of equilibrium constant are straight lines in the P-T plane. (ii) Dehydration reactions in which entropy change due to change in Al coordination is of the same sign as that due to dehydration: isopleths of constant K are positive at low pressure and negative at high pressure. (iii) Dehydration reactions in which entropy change due to Al coordination change is opposite in sign to that of dehydration: isopleths of constant K loop in the P-T plane with positive slopes at low and at high pressure.

Zonation in naturally occurring amphiboles records the evolution of metamorphic conditions in particular rocks. In an example from the eastern Alps (Austria) early conditions calculated as 15 kb, 200 ° C evolve upgrade to 6 kb, 525 ° C implying concurrent heating and erosion. The record of evolving conditions may span some 30 Ma of geological history.

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Holland, T.J.B., Richardson, S.W. Amphibole zonation in metabasites as a guide to the evolution of metamorphic conditions. Contr. Mineral. and Petrol. 70, 143–148 (1979).

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  • High Pressure
  • Dehydration
  • Chlorite
  • Equilibrium Constant
  • Condensed Phasis