Constraint on the time scale of biotite-grade metamorphism during Acadian orogeny from a natural garnet-garnet diffusion couple

Jibamitra Ganguly, Sumit Chakraborty, Thomas G. Sharp, Douglas Rumble

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39 Scopus citations


We have determined the concentration profiles across the interface of a natural garnetgarnet couple in a biotite-grade rock from eastern Vermont. The couple consists of a grossular-spessartine garnet that had formed during regional metamorphism associated with the Acadian orogeny on an almandine core, which had crystallized during an earlier episode of metamorphism related to the intrusion of Fairlee granite at 411 ± 5 Ma. The concentration profiles were measured by both electron microprobe and analytical transmission electron microscope, and they were modeled to retrieve the value of ∫ D(t)dt through the time that diffusion was effective but without recourse to any diffusion data. The length of the concentration profiles measured in microprobe is barely resolvable from that resulting from a convolution effect from the spatial averaging in the spot analyses. Deconvolution of the microprobe profiles yields a value of ∫ D(t)dt = 0-3.4 × 10-11 cm2, suggesting very little or no diffusion. TEM analyses of the concentration profiles, which are not subject to any significant convolution effect, show a very small but definitive diffusion zone across the interface of the garnet-garnet couple, which yields a value of ∫ D(t)dt = 7.6 × 10-12 cm2. Because D is a function of time through its dependence on temperature, this value of ∫ D(t)dt provides an important constraint on the thermal history during the regional metamorphism. As an example, we used it in conjunction with the available diffusion data for garnet to derive ∼40-50 Ma as the probable time scale for the biotite-grade metamorphism. taking into account the effects of the off-diagonal terms and thermodynamic nonideality on the diffusion process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1208-1216
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Mineralogist
Issue number9-10
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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