Chlorite crystallinity: an empirical approach and correlation with illite crystallinity, coal rank and mineral facies as exemplified by Palaeozoic and Mesozoic rocks of northeast Hungary

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Abstract Fairly strong (r= 0.75–0.85) positive linear correlations were found between crystallinity indices (peak widths) measured on the first two basal reflections of chlorite and those of illite–muscovite in <2‐μm fractions of a representative shale–slate–phyllite series from Palaeozoic and Mesozoic formations of northeast Hungary. The metamorphic grade ranges from late or deep diagenesis through anchizone to epizone conditions. Chlorite crystallinity values measured on air‐dried and ethylene‐glycol‐solvated samples suggest that the effects of expandable interlayers are negligable, especially in the higher grade (∼temperature) part of the series. However, the greater scattering of crystallinity values for the chlorite 001 reflection compared to those of the 002 reflection may be related to the effects of minor amounts of interlayered and/or discrete smectite and/or vermiculite. With increasing metamorphic grade and advancing equilibrium recrystallization, the chlorite compositions in different samples become more homogenous. No correlation exists between crystallinity and changes in chlorite composition as estimated from the intensity ratios of basal reflections. Hence an increase of domain size and a decrease of lattice distortion with increasing grade (∼temperature) may be decisive factors affecting chlorite crystallinity. Chlorite crystallinity can be applied as a reliable regional, statistical technique complementary with, or instead of, the illite crystallinity method. The illite and chlorite crystallinity scales used here are related to Kübler's epi‐, anchi‐ and diagenetic zones and correlated with coal rank, conodont colour alteration and mineral facies data. As the effects of the detrital white mica can be observed even in the <2‐μm fractions of anchizonal metapelites, the anchizone boundaries determined solely on the base of ‘fixed’illite crystallinity values may vary with amounts of detrital and newly formed muscovite–illite. Hence a complex approach utilizing more than one method for determination of grade is preferred for petrogenetic purposes, even if relationships between crystallinity scales, coal rank and mineral facies also vary strongly in different tectonic settings and lithologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)723-734
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Metamorphic Geology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1991



  • Hungary
  • X‐ray diffraction
  • anchizone
  • chlorite crystallinity
  • coal rank
  • conodont colour alteration
  • illite crystallinity
  • very low‐grade metamorphism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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