Calculation and application of clinopyroxene-garnet-plagioclase-quartz geobarometers

D. P. Moecher, E. J. Essene, L. M. Anovitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

246 Scopus citations


Recently published thermodynamic and experimental data in a variety of chemical systems have been evaluated to derive Gibbs free energies for hedenbergite and pyrope. These were used to calculate the geobarometric equilibria Hedenbergite+Anorthite=Grossular+Almandine +Quartz: "HD barometer", Diopside+Anorthite=Grossular+Pyrope+Quartz: "DI barometer". We have compared the pressures obtained from these equilibria for garnet-clinopyroxene-orthopyroxene-plagioclasequartz assemblages with the geobarometer Ferrosilite+Anorthite=Almandine+Grossular+Quartz: "FS barometer". Pressures calculated for 68 samples containing the above assemblage from a variety of high grade metamorphic terranes indicate that, in general, the HD and DI barometers yield values that are in good agreement with the FS barometer, and that the three barometers are generally consistent with constraints from aluminosilicate occurrences. However, in some samples the HD barometer yields pressures up to 2 kbar greater than constraints imposed by the presence of an aluminosilicate phase. Relative to the FS barometer, the HD barometer overestimates pressure by an average of 0.2±1.0 (1σ) kbar and the DI barometer underestimates pressure by an average of 0.6±1.6 (1σ) kbar. The pressure discrepancies for the HD and DI barometers are likely to be a result of imprecision in thermodynamic data and activity models for silicates, and not a result of resetting of the clinopyroxene equilibria. The relative imprecision of the DI barometer relative to the FS barometer results from overestimates of pressure by the DI and FS barometers in Fe-rich and Mg-rich systems, respectively. Application of the HD and DI barometers to high grade Cpx-Gt-Pg-Qz assemblages yields pressures that are generally consistent with other petrologic constraints and geobarometers. It is concluded that the HD and DI barometers can place reasonable constraints on pressure (±1 kbar relative to the FS barometer) if not extrapolated to mineral assemblages whose compositions are extremely far removed from the end member system for which the barometers were calibrated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-106
Number of pages15
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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