Chlorite crystallinity as an indicator of metamorphic grade of low-temperature meta-igneous rocks: A case study from the Bükk Mountains, northeast Hungary

P. Árkai, D. Sadek Ghabrial

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X-ray diffraction chlorite crystallinity (ChC) indices and major element chemical compositions of chlorites and bulk rocks were determined and correlated in meta-igneous rocks from different Mesozoic formations in various tectonic units of the Bükk Mountains, NE Hungary. The rocks, of basic to acidic compositions, range from ocean-floor metamorphic prehnite-pumpellyite facies (diagenetic zone) through regional metamorphic prehnite-pumpellyite facics (anchizone) up to the regional metamorphic pumpellyite-actinolite and greenschist facies (epizone). As in the case of meta-sedimentary rocks, chlorite crystallinity can be applied as an empirical, complementary petrogenetic tool to determine relative differences in grades of low-temperature meta-igneous rocks. Electron microprobe and XRD data show that ChC is controlled mainly by the decreasing amounts of contaminants (mixed-layered components or discrete, intergrown phases of mostly smectitic composition) in chlorite with advancing metamorphic grade, up to the epizone. The apparent increase in calculated Aliv content of chlorite with increasing temperature is related to the decrease of these contaminants, as stated earlier by Jiang et al. (1994). On the basis of the significant correlations found between ChC and temperatures, derived by the chlorite-Aliv geothermumeter of Cathelineau (1988), both methods may be used for estimating the approximate temperatures of metamorphism, in spite of the contrasting interpretation of chemical data from chlorites obtained by electron microprobe analyses. After determining the effects of changing bulk chemistry on chlorite composition and ChC, the chlorite crystallinity method may complement the correlation of the illite crystallinity-based zonal classification of meta-scdimcnts and the mineral facics classification of meta-igneous rocks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-222
Number of pages18
JournalClay Minerals
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1997


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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