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Electron Microprobe Investigations of Metamorphic Reactions and Mineral Growth Histories, Kwoiek Area, British Columbia


Hollister, Lincoln Steffens (1966) Electron Microprobe Investigations of Metamorphic Reactions and Mineral Growth Histories, Kwoiek Area, British Columbia. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/0ZA2-QX80.


The Kwoiek Area of British Columbia contains a pendant or screen of metamorphosed sedimentary and volcanic rocks almost entirely surrounded by a portion of the Coast Range Batholith, and intruded by several dozen stocks. The major metamorphic effects were produced by the quartz diorite batholithic rocks, with minor and later effects by the quartz diorite stocks. The sequence of important metamorphic reactions in the metasedimentary and metavolcanic rocks, ranging in grade from chlorite to sillimanite, is:

1. chlorite + carbonate + muscovite → epidote + biotite

2. chlorite + carbonate → actinolite + epidote

3. chlorite + muscovite → garnet + biotite

4. chlorite + epidote → garnet + hornblende

5. chlorite + muscovite → garnet + staurolite + biotite

6. chlorite + muscovite → aluminum silicate + biotite

7. muscovite + staurolite → garnet + aluminum silicate + biotite

8. staurolite → garnet + aluminum silicate

Continuous reactions, occurring between reactions 5 and 7, are:

A. chlorite + (high Ti) biotite + Al2O3 (from plagioclase?)→ garnet + staurolite + (low Ti) biotite + O2

B. muscovite (phengitic) → garnet + staurolite +muscovite (less phengitic) + O2 (?)

Detailed electron microprobe work on garnet, staurolite, biotite, and chlorite shows that:

(1) The garnet porphyroblasts are zoned according to a depletion model, called the Rayleigh depletion model, which assumes equilibrium between the edge of a growing garnet and the minerals which are unzoned, notably biotite, chlorite, and muscovite, but which assumes disequilibrium within the garnet.

(2) The staurolite porphyroblasts are also zoned, and from their zoning patterns reactions A, B, and 5 are documented. Progressive reduction of iron with increasing grade of metamorphism is also inferred from the staurolite zoning patterns.

(3) During a late period of falling temperature garnet continued to grow and the biotite and chlorite reequilibrated. The biotite, chlorite, and garnet edge compositions can vary from point to point in a given thin section, indicating that the volume of equilibrium at the final stage of metamorphism was only a few cubic microns.

(4) The horizon within the garnet that grew at maximum temperature can be identified. The Mg/Fe ratio of this horizon, if the garnet composition is a limiting composition in the Al2O3 - K2O - FeO - MgO tetrahedron, increases systematically with increasing metamorphic grade. Biotite and chlorite compositions also show a general increase in Mg/Fe ratio with increasing metamorphic grade, but staurolite appears to show the reverse effect.

(5) The Mg/Fe ratio at the maximum temperature horizon of the garnet porphyroblasts is a function of its Mn content as evidenced from the study of five garnet-bearing rocks, collected from one outcrop area, with the same assemblage but with differing proportions of minerals.

An important implication of zoned minerals is that the effective composition of a system in a phase lies on the join between the homogeneous minerals (if there are two) and not within three-or- four-phase fields when a zoned mineral, such as garnet or staurolite, is present in the assemblage.

Study of the three aluminum silicates found in the Kwoiek Area showed that a constant pressure change in polymorphs from andalusite to kyanite to sillimanite took place with increasing temperature. This transition series is best explained by the metastable formation of andalusite.

Photographic materials on pages 15, 121, 160, 162, and 164 are essential and will not reproduce clearly on Xerox copies. Photographic copies should be ordered.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:(Geology and Geochemistry)
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Geological and Planetary Sciences
Major Option:Geology
Minor Option:Geochemistry
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Albee, Arden Leroy
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:10 May 1966
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Kennecott Copper CorporationUNSPECIFIED
Woodrow Wilson Summer FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:03282016-092324853
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:9635
Deposited By: Benjamin Perez
Deposited On:19 Aug 2016 22:53
Last Modified:28 Feb 2024 18:07

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