Plate tectonic forcing leads to changes in the physical conditions that affect the lithosphere. In response to such changes, notably the local temperature (T) and pressure (P), rocks evolve dynamically. Processes mostly involve mineral transformations, i.e., solid-state reactions, but (hydrous) fluids are often involved, and partial melting may occur in the Earth’s middle and lower crust. While these chemical reactions reflect the tendency of natural systems to reduce their Gibbs free energy, metamorphic rocks commonly preserve textural and mineralogical relics, such as compositionally zoned minerals. Where relics are present, thermodynamic equilibrium clearly was not attained during...

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