Abstract

Finding evidence for ultrahigh-pressure (UHP) metamorphism in crustal rocks is far from straightforward. The index minerals coesite and diamond are incredibly inconspicuous and are therefore difficult to use as UHP prospecting tools. Consequently, petrographers rely on recognizing subtle breakdown microstructures that result from pressure release during the return to the surface of the once deeply buried rock. Similarly, many other UHP minerals are first suspected on the basis of typical reaction or exsolution microstructures. Thus, the painstaking use of microscopic techniques has been fundamental to the tremendous advances in characterizing, quantifying, and understanding macroscopic-scale, deep continental subduction, rapid exhumation, and mountain-building processes.

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