Equilibrium coexistence of three amphiboles

Peter Robinson*, Howard W. Jaffe, Cornelis Klein, Malcolm Ross

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Electron probe and wet chemical analyses of amphibole pairs from the sillimanite zone of central Massachusetts and adjacent New Hampshire indicated that for a particular metamorphic grade there should be a restricted composition range in which three amphiboles can coexist stably. An unequivocal example of such an equilibrium three amphibole rock has been found in the sillimanite-orthoclase zone. It contains a colorless primitive clinoamphibole, space group P21/m, optically and chemically like cummingtonite with blue-green hornblende exsolution lamellae on (100) and (-101) of the host; blue-green hornblende, space group C2/m, with primitive cummingtonite exsolution lamellae on (100) and (-101) of the host; and pale pinkish tan anthophyllite, space group Pnma, that is free of visible exsolution lamellae but is a submicroscopic intergrowth of two orthorhombic amphiboles. Mutual contacts and coarse, oriented intergrowths of two and three host amphiboles indicate the three grew as an equilibrium assemblage prior to exsolution. Electron probe analyses at mutual three-amphibole contacts showed little variation in the composition of each amphibole. Analyses believed to represent most closely the primary amphibole compositions gave atomic proportions on the basis of 23 oxygens per formula unit as follows: for primitive cummingtonite (Na0.02Ca0.21 - Mn0.06Fe2+ 2.28Mg4.12Al0.28) (Al0.17Si7.83), for hornblende (Na0.35Ca1.56Mn0.02Fe1.71Mg2.85Al0.92) (Al1.37Si6.63), and for anthophyllite (Na0.10Ca0.06Mn0.06Fe2.25Mg4.11Al0.47) (Al0.47Si7.53). The reflections violating C-symmetry, on X-ray single crystal photographs of the primitive cummingtonite, are weak and diffuse, and suggest a partial inversion from a C-centered to a primitive clinoamphibole. Single crystal photographs of the anthophyllite show split reflections indicating it is an intergrowth of about 80% anthophyllite and about 20% gedrite which differ in their b crystallographic dimensions. Split reflections are characteristic of all analyzed orthorhombic amphiboles so far examined from Massachusetts and New Hampshire except the most aluminous gedrites, and the relative intensity of the gedrite reflections is roughly proportional to the degree of Na and Al substitution. Thin sections of a few of these anthophyllite specimens show lamellae parallel to (010) that are just resolved with a high power objective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-258
Number of pages11
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1969
Externally publishedYes

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