Mechanisms of Porphyroblast Crystallization: Results from High-Resolution Computed X-ray Tomography

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Science  28 Aug 1992:
Vol. 257, Issue 5074, pp. 1236-1239
DOI: 10.1126/science.257.5074.1236


Quantitative three-dimensional analysis of rock textures is now possible with the use of high-resolution computed x-ray tomography. When applied to metamorphic rocks, this technique provides data on the sizes and positions of minerals that allow mechanisms of porphyroblast crystallization to be identified. Statistical analysis of the sizes and spatial disposition of thousands of garnet crystals in three regionally metamorphosed rocks with diverse mineralogies, in conjunction with simple numerical models for crystallization, reveals in all cases the dominance of crystallization mechanisms whose kinetics are governed by rates of intergranular diffusion of nutrients.