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In the late 20th century advances in experimentation and in material characterization greatly fostered the development of internally consistent thermodynamic data. Together with the development of thermodynamic modelling tools this enhanced our ability to analyse phase equilibria in rocks and to obtain accurate quantitative information on the conditions of magmatic and metamorphic crystallization. This gave an unprecedented boost to mineralogy, petrology and geochemistry and helped illuminate long-standing questions in geodynamics as well as in geo- and cosmochemistry. Attainment of thermodynamic equilibrium among the phases constituting a rock and metastable preservation of equilibrium phase relations, which are indispensible pre-requisites for application of equilibrium thermodynamics, could be demonstrated or, in many cases, were tacitly assumed.

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