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Metamorphism

Metamorphism
Metamorphism is a process leading to changes
in mineralogy and/or texture (for example
grain size) and often in chemical composition
in a rock. These changes are due to physical
and/or chemical conditions that differ from
those normally occurring at the surface of
planets and in zones of cementation and
diagenesis below this surface. They may
coexist with partial melting.

The Limits of Metamorphism


Diagenetic/weathering processes are
indistinguishable from metamorphic.
Metamorphism begins in the range of 100150oC.

Metamorphic Agents and Changes


Temperature: typically the most important
factor in metamorphism.
Pressure: High T/P geotherms in areas of
plutonic activity or rifting; Low T/P geotherms
in subduction zones.
Chemically active fluids e.g. H2O, CO2 etc.

How Metamorphic Rocks are


Formed?

The underlying principle to understanding all things


geological is:
Minerals and rocks are stable only under the
conditions at which they form. Change the
conditions and the rocks will change to adapt to the
new conditions.

Metamorphism occurs when any previously existing


rock, the parent rock, is buried in the earth under
layers of other rock. The deeper the rock is buried
the hotter it gets, and the higher the pressure
becomes. Eventually, rock must adjust to the new
conditions, whether it is baked, or squeezed, or both,
and in the process becomes a metamorphic rock.
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Agents of Metamorphism
Heat
Most important agent
Two sources of heat
Contact metamorphism heat from magma
An increase in temperature with depth due to the
geothermal gradient

Pressure and differential stress


Confining pressure applies forces equally in all
directions; increases with depth
Rocks may also be subjected to differential stress
which is unequal in different directions

Chemically active fluids


Mainly water with other volatile components
Enhances migration of ions
Aids in recrystallization of existing minerals
Sources of fluids
Pore spaces of sedimentary rocks
Fractures in igneous rocks
Hydrated minerals such as clays and micas

WHAT CHANGES DURING


METAMORPHISM?
Rock texture changes

Foliation (alignment of minerals) can develop in


response to stress e.g. schistosity
Minerals recrystallize e.g. calcite
Marble is a nonfoliated metamorphic rock resulting from
the metamorphism of limestone, composed mostly of
calcite (a crystalline form of calcium carbonate, CaCO3).
Mineralogy changes

New minerals form that are stable under the new


metamorphic conditions e.g. clinozoisite, andalusite

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Foliation is a texture that develops when platy or


elongate minerals are aligned by differential stress

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Foliation

Foliation - any planar set of minerals, or


banding of mineral concentrations, especially
the planar structure that results from flattening
of the mineral grains, like micas.

Foliation usually formed planes of weakness in


metamorphic rock because the rock can be easily
break along the foliation planes.

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Kinds of foliation
Slaty cleavage

Schistosity
Gneissic banding

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Recrystallization minerals grow and


develop an interlocking texture

Quartzite
metamorphosed
sandstone

Marble
Metamorphosed
limestone

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New minerals form these are stable under the


new high temperature and high pressure conditions.
Some minerals are found only in metamorphic rocks

Garnet schist
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Metamorphic Grade
= intensity of metamorphism

Low
Intermediate

High

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Kinds of Metamorphic
Contact or thermal metamorphism
Result from a rise in temperature when magma
invades a host rock

Hydrothermal metamorphism
Chemical alteration caused when hot, ion-rich
fluids, called hydrothermal solutions, circulate
through fissures and cracks that develop in rock

Regional metamorphism
Produces the greatest quantity of metamorphic rock
Associated with mountain building

Impact Metamorphism and Tektites

Metamorphic textures
Texture refers to the size, shape, and arrangement of
mineral grains
Foliation any planar arrangement of mineral grains
or structural features within a rock
Foliated textures
Rock or slaty cleavage
Closely spaced planar surfaces along which rocks split

Schistosity
Rocks having this texture are referred to as schist

Gneissic
Gneissic rocks exhibit a distinctive banded appearance

Common Metamorphic Rocks

Foliated Metamorphic Rocks


(Regional Metamorphism)
Gneiss highest grade of
metamorphism, coarse
grained; generally banded
(segregation bands of light
and dark-coloured minerals);
augen texture.
Schist medium grade of
metamorphism; sand size,
schistocity cleavage.
Phyllite low grade of
metamorphism; fine grained
(silt-sized); phyllitic cleavage.
Slate lowest grade of
metamorphism; very finegrained; mud-sized; slaty
cleavage; smooth surface.
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Non-Foliated
Metamorphic Rocks
(Contact/Thermal Metamorphism)

Granulite (granite / acid


igneous rocks origin)

Amphibolite (basic
igneous rocks origin)

Quarzite (sandstone
origin)

Marble (limestone origin)


Hornfels
(mudstone/shale origin)

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