Stability of Epidote Minerals

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A NUMBER of silicate minerals have proved difficult to synthesize by the commonly employed methods involving hydrothermal crystallization of glasses or reactive oxide mixes of suitable composition. Failure to synthesize a phase may be caused by the experimental conditions not being within the region where the phase is thermodynamically stable. But, in some cases, failure simply reflects a large nucleation barrier to the formation of the stable phase so that metastable phases which nucleate with ease form, and may persist indefinitely. Several workers1–3 have considered this problem in relation to the epidote minerals, and the consistent failure of low-pressure synthesis could indicate that these phases may be stable only under relatively high-pressure conditions. Geological occurrence does not entirely support this proposition. The results presented here indicate that with these minerals nucleation is a sluggish process at low pressures, and if this step is by-passed, growth is readily achieved from the phases which normally form in synthesis. This sluggish nucleation is possibly related to the structure of the minerals.

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  1. 1

    Ehlers, E. G., J. Geol., 61, 231 (1953).

  2. 2

    Goldsmith, J. R., J. Geol., 61, 439 (1953).

  3. 3

    Fyfe, W. S., Turner, F. J., and Verhoogen, J., “Metamorphic Reactions and Metamorphic Facies”, Memoir 73, Geol. Soc. Amer. (1958).

  4. 4

    Coombs, D. S., Ellis, A. J., Fyfe, W. S., and Taylor, A. M., Geochim. et Cosmochim. Acta, 17, 53 (1959).

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FYFE, W. Stability of Epidote Minerals. Nature 187, 497 (1960) doi:10.1038/187497a0

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