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Publication Type:

Journal Article


Journal of Metamorphic GeologyJournal of Metamorphic Geology, Volume 27, Number 4, p.249-279 (2009)



Accession Number:



andalusite, ballachulish aureole, bushveld complex aureole, disequilibrium, equilibrium, fluid, garnet growth, kinetics, kwoiek area, metamorphic reactions, mineral-assemblages, overstepping, phase-diagram, reaction affinity, south-africa


The distribution of metapelitic mineral assemblages in the Nelson aureole, British Columbia, generally conforms to what is predicted from phase equilibria. However, in detail, the sequence and spacing of isograds, mineral textures and mineral compositions and mineral chemical zoning do not. Two of the main disequilibrium features in the aureole are: (i) delay in the onset and progress of several reactions, i.e. overstepping in temperature; and (ii) unreactivity of staurolite and especially garnet porphyroblasts when they are reactants in prograde reactions. The thermal overstepping is ascribed to difficulty of nucleation of the product porphyroblasts and sluggishness of dissolution of porphyroblasts when they are reactants. The extent to which these kinetic barriers delay the onset of reaction is related to the reaction affinity of each reaction, defined herein as the Gibbs free-energy difference between the thermodynamically stable, but not-yet-crystallized, products and the metastable reactants. For oversteps in temperature (Delta T), reaction affinity is, in turn, related to the difference in entropy (Delta S) between these two states through the relation A = Delta T * Delta S. Mineral reactions which release large quantities of H(2)O, such as chlorite-consuming reactions, have a higher entropy change per unit of temperature overstep, and therefore a higher reaction affinity, than those which release little or no H(2)O, such as the chlorite-free staurolite-consuming reaction. Thermal overstepping is consequently expected to be less for the former than for the latter, as was estimated in the aureole where 0 to 30 degrees C overstepping was required for garnet, staurolite and andalusite growth from a muscovite + chlorite-bearing precursor rock and similar to 70 degrees C overstepping was required for the growth of Al(2)SiO(5) from a staurolite-bearing, chlorite-free precursor. In all cases, reaction progress was strongly influenced by the presence or absence of fluid, with presence of fluid lowering kinetic barriers to nucleation and growth and therefore the degree of thermal overstepping. Textural features of rocks from the nearly coincident garnet, staurolite and andalusite isograds are suggestive of a fluid-catalysed 'cascade effect' in which reaction took place in a narrow temperature interval; several competing muscovite + chlorite-consuming reactions, some metastable, appear to have occurred in parallel. Metamorphic reaction, fluid release and possibly fluid presence in general in the aureole were episodic rather than continuous, and in several cases well removed from equilibrium conditions. The extent to which these findings apply to regional metamorphism depends on several factors, a major one being enhanced deformation, which is expected to lower kinetic barriers to nucleation and growth.


433ei<br/>Times Cited:50<br/>Cited References Count:53