An experimental investigation of sub-solidus assemblages formed at high pressure in high-alumina basalt, kyanite eclogite and grosspydite compositions

Trevor H. Green*

*Corresponding author for this work

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46 Citations (Scopus)


The sub-solidus fields of crystallization of a spectrum of synthetic aluminous basic compositions (high-alumina basalt, anorthite-enriched high-alumina basalt, kyanite eclogite, grosspydite and gabbroic anorthosite) have been investigated at pressures of up to 36 kb. At low pressures the assemblages are characterized by abundant plagioclase, clinopyroxene and possibly minor olivine and orthopyroxene. These correspond to natural gabbroic and pyroxene granulite assemblages. As pressure is increased garnet appears and increases gradually in amount at the expense of other ferromagnesian minerals and plagioclase, until finally at pressures of >23 kb at 1,100° C, plagioclase disappears and high pressure clinopyroxene+garnet+kyanite±quartz assemblages equivalent to eclogite are obtained. In the eclogite stability field, with further rise in pressure, the ratio ga/cpx and the grossular content of the garnet increase. In the high-alumina basalt composition the transitional garnet granulite assemblage (clinopyroxene+plagioclase+garnet±quartz) is spread over a pressure interval of 11 kb at 1,100° C. This is a greater interval than observed for other basalt compositions and is important in considering the hypothesis that the Mohorovicic Discontinuity is a phase change from basalt to eclogite. It indicates that the change in Vp would be spread over a significant depth range, and no sharp seismic velocity discontinuity could result. The first experimental synthesis of kyanite eclogite from both high-alumina basalt and kyanite eclogite compositions has been obtained, as well as synthesis of unusual grossular-clinopyroxene-kyanite assemblages (grosspydite) from grosspydite and gabbroic anorthosite compositions. The pressures needed to synthesize these assemblages are somewhat greater than the pressures needed to synthesize eclogite from basic compositions of lower alumina content at the same temperature. Experimental confirmation of the observation that there is a direct relation between Gross/Alm + Py ratio of garnet and the Jd/Di ratio of co-existing pyroxene in grosspydite and kyanite eclogite assemblages found in kimberlite pipes has also been obtained.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-114
Number of pages31
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1967
Externally publishedYes


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