Abstract

Mineral replacement reactions take place primarily by dissolution-reprecipitation processes. Processes such as cation exchange, chemical weathering, deuteric alteration, leaching, pseudomorphism, metasomatism, diagenesis and metamorphism are all linked by common features in which one mineral or mineral assemblage is replaced by a more stable assemblage. The aim of this paper is to review some of these aspects of mineral replacement and to demonstrate the textural features they have in common, in order to emphasize the similarities in the underlying microscopic mechanisms. The role of volume change and evolution of porosity is explored both from natural microtextures and new experiments on model replacement reactions in simple salts. It is shown that the development of porosity is often a consequence of mineral replacement processes, irrespective of the relative molar volumes of parent and product solid phases. The key issue is the relative solubility of the phases in the fluid phase. Concepts such as coupled dissolution-precipitation, and autocatalysis are important in understanding these processes. Some consequences of porosity generation for metamorphic fluid flow as well as subsequent crystal growth are also discussed.

You do not currently have access to this article.