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Interpreting Assemblages with Titanite (Sphene): It Does not have to be Greek to You.Assemblages with titanite, pyroxene(s), olivine, ilmenite, magnetite, and quartz can be used to constrain the intensive and compositional variables that operate during crystallization. Such assemblages are relatively rare in metamorphic rocks, but they are more common in igneous rocks and more frequently reported in plutonic than volcanic rocks. We used the program QUILF, enhanced with thermodynamic data for titanite, to compute stable reactions among titanite (CaTiOSiO4), Fe-Mg-Ti ilmenite and magnetite (hereafter ilmenite and magnetite), Ca-Mg-Fe pyroxenes and olivine, and quartz, and to evaluate some of the factors that control titanite stability. Calculations at 1, 3, and 6 Kbar and 650, 850, 1100 0 C, in the system CaO - MgO - FeO Fe2O3 - TiO2 - SiO2, suggest that the reactions: Augitc + Ilmenite = Titanite + Magnetite + Quartz and Augite + Ilmenite + Quartz = Titanite + Orthopyroxene, impose well defined fugacity of O2, alpha(sub SiO2), , and compositional restrictions to the assemblages: (1) Titanite + Magnetite + Quartz, (2) Titanite + Orthopyroxene, (3) Augite + Ilmenite, and consequently titanite stability. From our calculations in this system we can draw the following general conclusions: (1) The assemblage Titanite + Magnetite + Quartz is always a good indicator of relatively high fugacity of O2, and it is likely more common in relatively iron-rich bulk compositions and for decreasing temperature and pressure conditions. (2) At high temperatures (>= 650 C) titanite is not stable in quartz-saturated rocks that contain the assemblage Orthopyroxene + Augite + Ilmenite + Magnetite. (3) In quartz-saturated rocks the coexistence of titanite and magnetite with either orthopyroxene or olivine requires a confluence of conditions relating bulk composition, fugacity of O2, and slow cooling. Thus, such assemblages must be rare. (4) Regardless of T and fugacity of O2 conditions, and bulk-composition, titanite is not stable in quartz-absent rocks that contain Olivine + Orthopyroxene + Augite + Ilmenite + Magnetite. Decreasing temperature and pressure conditions appear to favor titanite crystallization, thus, it is not unsurprising that titanite is frequently observed in slowly cooled rocks, albeit, in association with amphibole. We argue that the titanite + amphibole association is likely favored by high water activity, regardless of oxygen fugacity. Because water activity increases during crystallization of a pluton, the association titanite + amphibole, and consequently titanite, is likely to be more common in plutonic rocks than in volcanic rocks.
Document ID
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Xirouchakis, Dimitrios M.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX United States)
Lindsley, Donald H.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX United States)
McKay, Gordon A.
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2000
Subject Category
Nonmetallic Materials
Funding Number(s)
PROJECT: RTOP 344-31-00-05
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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