We use mineral liberation analysis (MLA) to quantify the spatial association of 15,118 grains of accessory apatite, monazite, xenotime, and zircon with essential biotite, and clustered with themselves, in a peraluminous biotite granodiorite from the South Mountain Batholith in Nova Scotia (Canada). A random distribution of accessory minerals demands that the proportion of accessory minerals in contact with biotite is identical to the proportion of biotite in the rock, and the binary touching factor (percentage of accessory mineral touching biotite divided by modal proportion of biotite) would be ~1.00. Instead, the mean binary touching factors for the four accessory minerals in relation to biotite are: apatite (5.06 for 11,168 grains), monazite (4.68 for 857 grains), xenotime (4.36 for 217 grains), and zircon (5.05 for 2876 grains). Shared perimeter factors give similar values. Accessory mineral grains that straddle biotite grain boundaries are larger than completely locked, or completely liberated, accessory grains. Only apatite-monazite clusters are significantly more abundant than expected for random distribution. The high, and statistically significant, binary touching factors and shared perimeter factors suggest a strong physical or chemical control on their spatial association. We evaluate random collisions in magma (synneusis), heterogeneous nucleation processes, induced nucleation in passively enriched boundary layers, and induced nucleation in actively enriched boundary layers to explain the significant touching factors. All processes operate during the crystallization history of the magma, but induced nucleation in passively and actively enriched boundary layers are most likely to explain the strong spatial association of phosphate accessories and zircon with biotite. In addition, at least some of the apatite and zircon may also enter the granitic magma as inclusions in grains of Ostwald-ripened xenocrystic biotite.
The spatial association of accessory minerals with biotite in granitic rocks from the South Mountain Batholith, Nova Scotia, Canada
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D. Barrie Clarke, Axel D. Renno, David C. Hamilton, Sabine Gilbricht, Kai Bachmann; The spatial association of accessory minerals with biotite in granitic rocks from the South Mountain Batholith, Nova Scotia, Canada. Geosphere 2021; doi: https://doi.org/10.1130/GES02339.1
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