On equilibrium in non-hydrostatic metamorphic systems

R. Powell, K. A. Evans, E. C. R. Green, R. W. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Metamorphic geology has accumulated a huge body of observation on mineral assemblages that reveal strong patterns in occurrence, summarised for example in the idea of metamorphic facies. On the realisation that such patterns needed a simple explanation, there has been considerable a posteriori success from adopting the idea that equilibrium thermodynamics can be used on mineral assemblages to make sense of the patterns in terms of, for example, the pressure and temperature of formation of mineral assemblages. In doing so, a particularly simple implicit assumption is made, that mineral assemblages operate essentially hydrostatically. Structural geologists have studied the same rocks for different ends, but, remarkably, the phenomena they are interested in depend on non-hydrostatic stress. We look at the effect of such behaviour on mineral equilibria. With adoption of some plausible assumptions about how metamorphism in the crust works, the consequence of minerals being non-hydrostatically stressed is commonly second order in equilibrium calculations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-438
JournalJournal of Metamorphic Geology
Issue number4
Early online date12 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


  • Elastic solids
  • Equilibrium thermodynamics
  • Lattice constraint
  • Non-hydrostatic stress


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