On the brink of the twenty-first century, petrology is a very different subject than it was in its heyday in the twentieth, and this book tells the story of N.L. Bowen, the great pioneer of experimental petrology, and of the extraordinary impact that he has had on petrological thought. From the start, Bowen sought to explain the features of igneous rocks in terms of liquid–solid equilibria in simple silicate systems, and how the residual liquids changed composition in response to the separation of crystals. This is crystallization-differentiation, which is more popularly known as fractional crystallization. To gain acceptance, this required...

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