Disequilibrium textures versus equilibrium modelling: geochronology at the crossroads
Published:January 01, 2010
Igor M. Villa, 2010. "Disequilibrium textures versus equilibrium modelling: geochronology at the crossroads", Advances in Interpretation of Geological Processes: Refinement of Multi-scale Data and Integration in Numerical Modelling, M. I. Spalla, A. M. Marotta, G. Gosso
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Submicroscopic microchemical disequilibrium in minerals is extremely widespread. Disequilibrium recrystallization is promoted by water in metamorphic terranes and near granites, contact aureoles, and faults. Recrystallization is energetically less costly at almost any temperature than diffusive re-equilibration.
Radiogenic isotopes (except 4He) never diffusively re-equilibrate faster than major elements forming the mineral structure. Isotopic inheritance tied to relicts was demonstrated for zircon, monazite, amphibole, K-feldspar, biotite and muscovite.
The mechanism for resetting the isotope record in nature depends more on the availability of recrystallization-enhancing water than on reaching a preset temperature. Laboratory diffusion experiments on hydrous minerals were plagued, to a variable but always large extent, by dissolution–reprecipitation. Mineral geochronometers should be viewed as ‘geohygrometers’ that essentially date the fluid circulation episodes.
Thanks to submicroscopic petrology, isotopic disequilibria can be put into context with petrogenetic disequilibria. Analytical advances allow the successful dating of each mineral generation. This has opened up a much richer wealth of data on the P–T–A–X–d history of rocks, which in the long run will also improve our ability to develop credible numeric models.
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Advances in Interpretation of Geological Processes: Refinement of Multi-scale Data and Integration in Numerical Modelling
Iterative comparison of analytical results and natural observations with predictions of numerical models improves interpretation of geological processes. Further refinements derive from wide-angle comparison of results from various scales of study. In this volume, advances from field, laboratory and modelling approaches to tectonic evolution – from the lithosphere to the rock scale – are compared. Constructive use is made of apparently discrepant or non-consistent results from analytical or methodological approaches in processing field or laboratory data, P–T estimates, absolute or relative age determinations of tectonic events, tectonic unit size in crustal scale deformation, grain-scale deformation processes, various modelling approaches, and numerical techniques. Advances in geodynamic modelling critically depend on new insights into grain- and subgrain-scale deformation processes. Conversely, quantitative models help to identify which rheological laws and parameters exert the strongest control on multi-scale deformation up to lithosphere and upper mantle scale.