Origin of megacrysts in granitoids by textural coarsening: a crystal size distribution (CSD) study of microcline in the Cathedral Peak Granodiorite, Sierra Nevada, California
Published:January 01, 1999
Michael D. Higgins, 1999. "Origin of megacrysts in granitoids by textural coarsening: a crystal size distribution (CSD) study of microcline in the Cathedral Peak Granodiorite, Sierra Nevada, California", Understanding Granites: Integrating New and Classical Techniques, Antonio Castro, Carlos Fernández, Jean Louis Vigneresse
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Microcline megacrysts in the Cathedral Peak Granodiorite and other parts of the Tuolumne Intrusive Suite were formed by textural coarsening (Ostwald Ripening) of earlier formed crystals. The early-formed crystals nucleated and grew in an environment of increasing undercooling, probably during the ascent of the magma. Emplacement of the magma into warm host rocks promoted textural coarsening. Crystals smaller than a certain size (the critical size) dissolved in the interstitial melt whilst large crystals grew. Microcline was most sensitive to this effect as the magma temperature was buffered close to its liquidus for a long period by the release of latent heat of crystallization. Positive feedback between textural coarsening and magma permeability channelled the flow of interstitial melt to produce a heterogeneous distribution of megacrysts. Megacryst growth was halted when cooling resumed at the end of the intrusive cycle. K-feldspar nucleation was then renewed and K-feldspar crystals grew to form part of the groundmass. It was the particular thermal history of this pluton that promoted textural coarsening—chemically similar plutons that lack megacrysts probably did not have the pause during cooling that was necessary for the development of this texture.
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Understanding Granites: Integrating New and Classical Techniques
Granite magmatism represents a major contribution to crustal growth and recycling and, consequently, is one of the most important mechanisms to have contributed to the geochemical differentiation of the Earth’s crust since Archaean time. Granites are also often associated with ore bodies, and their study therefore has direct commercial relevance.
The modern view of the granite problems requires the application of many different theoretical, experimental and empirical resources provided by geophysics, geochemistry, experimental petrology, structural geology, scale modelling and field geology. Because of the complexity of the granite problem, it is necessary to integrate a variety of techniques and corroborate the findings with field observations.This is the philosophy of this book.
Many chapters are review papers dealing with the development and achievements of a particular technique, whilst other chapters deal with the application of a number of techniques to a specific problem. This volume brings together papers that would otherwise be dispersed in different publications.
The book will be of interest to igneous petrologists, geophysicists, structural geologists and geochemists.