Calculated phase equilibria involving chemical potentials to investigate the textural evolution of metamorphic rocks

R. W. White, R. Powell, J. A. Baldwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


Evolving pressure-temperature conditions during metamorphism drive changes in the stable mineral assemblage, mineral proportions and mineral compositions in rocks. These changes are achieved via the diffusion of components between minerals, fluid and melt, the driving force for diffusion being the gradients in chemical potential of the components developed spatially within the rock. This study utilises recent developments in the software thermocalc to investigate quantitatively chemical potential relationships in rocks, with the phases involved being (solid) solutions. Phase diagrams with chemical potentials as axes are used to understand better the spatial rearrangement of components during the metamorphic evolution of rocks and the metamorphic textures that result. In contrast to qualitative chemical potential diagrams, quantitative diagrams can be contoured for mineral composition, allowing consideration of chemical zoning in minerals. Furthermore, the amount of material required to diffuse to equalise chemical potentials can be calculated. We start by demonstrating the approach via an example of retrograde corona development in an ultra-high-temperature granulite. Whereas the use of chemical potentials to consider the retrograde development of corona textures is well known, they are also significant in considering the prograde history. The role of chemical potentials in prograde metamorphic textural evolution is highlighted in consideration of the consumption and growth of aluminosilicates during the kyanite-to-sillimanite reaction, and the growth of garnet porphyroblasts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-198
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Metamorphic Geology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2008


  • Chemical potential
  • Reaction textures
  • Thermocalc
  • μ-μ diagram


Dive into the research topics of 'Calculated phase equilibria involving chemical potentials to investigate the textural evolution of metamorphic rocks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this