New mineral activity-composition relations for thermodynamic calculations in metapelitic systems

R. W. White*, R. Powell, T. J. B. Holland, T. E. Johnson, E. C. R. Green

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

917 Citations (Scopus)


New activity-composition (a-x) relations for minerals commonly occurring in metapelites are presented for use with the internally consistent thermodynamic dataset of Holland & Powell (2011, Journal of Metamorphic Geology, 29, 333-383). The a-x relations include a broader consideration of Fe2O3 in minerals, changes to the formalism of several phases and order-disorder in all ferromagnesian minerals where Fe-Mg mixing occurs on multiple sites. The a-x relations for chlorite, biotite, garnet, chloritoid, staurolite, cordierite, orthopyroxene, muscovite, paragonite and margarite have been substantially reparameterized using the approach outlined in the companion paper in this issue. For the first time, the entire set of a-x relations for the common ferromagnesian minerals in metapelitic rocks is parameterized simultaneously, with attention paid to ensuring that they can be used together to calculate phase diagrams of geologically appropriate topology. The a-x relations developed are for use in the Na2O-CaO-K2O-FeO-MgO-Al2O3-SiO2-H2O-TiO2-O2 (NCKFMASHTO) system for both subsolidus and suprasolidus conditions. Petrogenetic grids in KFMASH and KFMASHTO are similar in topology to those produced with earlier end-member datasets and a-x relations, but with some notable differences. In particular, in subsolidus equilibria, the FeO/(FeO + MgO) of garnet is now greater than in coexisting staurolite, bringing a number of key staurolite-bearing equilibria into better agreement with inferences from field and petrographic observations. Furthermore, the addition of Fe3+ and Ti to a number of silicate phases allows more plausible equilibria to be calculated in relevant systems. Pseudosections calculated with the new a-x relations are also topologically similar to equivalent diagrams using earlier a-x relations, although with many low variance fields shifting in P-T space to somewhat lower pressure conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-286
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Metamorphic Geology
Issue number3
Early online date10 Feb 2014
Publication statusPublished - 6 Mar 2014


  • a-x relations
  • Metapelite
  • Pseudosection
  • Thermocalc


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