Garnet in silicic liquids and its possible use as a P-T indicator

T. H. Green*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Citations (Scopus)


Melting experiments on a model pelitic composition yield low-spessartine garnet as an important residual phase at pressures above 7 kb. The KD values for distribution of iron and magnesium between coexisting garnet and liquid in the pelitic composition are mainly sensitive to temperature, but also have a small pressure dependence. At temperatures above 950 ° C garnet has a higher {Mathematical expression} value than coexisting liquid, but below 950 ° C the garnet {Mathematical expression} value is lower than that of the coexisting liquid. Thus at temperatures below 950 ° C silicic magmas may fractionate garnet and produce more magnesian derivative liquids. Reconnaissance experiments with added MnO content in the model pelite demonstrate that spessartine-rich garnets are stable in silicic liquids to pressures as low as 3 kb. The MnO and CaO contents of the experimentally crystallized garnets show an antipathetic relation. Also, the grossular content of near-liquidus garnets crystallizing from a range of compositions increases with increasing pressure. The spessartine and grossular contents of most natural garnets in eastern Australian granitic rocks suggest that these garnets formed at pressures greater than 5 kb. Increased spessartine content allows crystallization of garnet in equilibrium with a silicic magma well within the pressure limit of stability of cordierite, provided the garnet contains ≧10 mol.% spessartine. Thus the depth range over which garnet and cordierite may coexist in a silicic melt is broadened, subject to the availability of MnO. The effect of increased Mn content on the low-pressure stability limit of garnet may also explain the lack of resorption of some garnets in granitic magmas, as these magmas rise to shallower levels. These euhedral garnets characteristically show zoning from an Mn-poor core (typically <4 % MnO) to an Mn-richer rim (typically >4 % MnO) and may reflect continued growth of the garnet in a low pressure regime, stabilized by Mn concentrated in the residual liquid fractions of the crystallizing magma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-67
Number of pages9
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1977

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