Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 57, Issue 3, pp 227–244 | Cite as

Ammonium Silicate Stability Relations

  • Marie Hallam
  • Hans P. Eugster


A method has been developed to control ammonium fugacity, \(f_{{\text{NH}}_{3}}\), at elevated temperatures and pressures. The method uses an internal nitrogen buffer, the assemblage Cr + CrN, in conjunction with a traditional external hydrogen buffer. In this manner, all gas fugacities in the system N-O-H can be calculated.

The Cr + CrN buffer has been applied to study equilibria between buddingtonite (ammonium feldspar), ammonium muscovite, sillimanite, and quartz at a constant gas pressure of 2,000 bars. Two of the five relevant reactions were measured experimentally; from these data, it is possible to calculate isothermal sections at 500, 600, and 700° C.

Below 600° C, ammonium muscovite is stable even at extremely low levels of \(f_{{\text{NH}}_{3}}\), while buddingtonite requires \(f_{{\text{NH}}_{3}}\;\geqq\;10^4\) bars. Release of NH3 during progressive metamorphism can be achieved by three processes: thermal decomposition, dehydration, and cation exchange. Within the crust, \(f_{{\text{NH}}_{3}}\) predominates over \(f_{{\text{N}}_{2}}\) by several orders of magnitude; but on the surface, nitrogen released as NH3 by metamorphism will be oxidized to N2. Biological materials provide important intermediate storage for nitrogen compounds during the nitrogen cycle.


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Material for this paper was taken in part from a Ph.D. thesis submitted by MH to the Johns Hopkins University. Work was supported by NASA grant NGR 21-001-037. Helpful discussions with L. W. R. Dicks during very early stages of this investigation, and computer advice and assistance from C.E. Ransom, are also acknowledged. We are grateful to R. Powell for pointing out errors in an earlier version.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marie Hallam
    • 1
  • Hans P. Eugster
    • 2
  1. 1.BaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of Earth and Planetary SciencesThe Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA

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