Comparison of Geothermobarometers with Different Closure Behavior to Constrain P-T Paths
Abstract:Temperatures obtained from geothermobarometers depend not only on minerals reaching equilibrium, but also on preservation of those compositions through subsequent thermal history. In the case of step-function cooling histories (volcanic systems), each of several geothermometry equations (with P-dependence) can be treated as a line in P-T space for a given composition. In the absence of independent P-constraint, intersection of those lines corresponds to the simultaneous solution of the equations involved and is indicative of crystallization and storage conditions. Multiple calibrations of a given thermometer can be evaluated by their degree of match. For protracted plutonic or metamorphic cooling histories, a single intersection is not expected – instead, calculated temperatures will reflect a sequence of mineral closure based on diffusivity of the element(s) of interest in the various phases.
We apply this multi-thermometer approach to quartz, rutile, and titanite formed along the retrograde path in gneiss and eclogite at Bixiling, Dabie UHP terrane, China. Using the Huang and Audetat (2012) Ti-in-quartz thermometer calibration, all available Zr-in-rutile equations intersect at approximately 7-10 kbar and 560-580°C. Zr-in-rutile calibrations diverge at higher P, and intersect the Thomas et al. (2010) Ti-in-quartz calibration over a broader range of 13-16 kbar and 550-600°C. Regardless of which intersection is used, it appears that both of these minerals have reequilibrated far below the previously reported peak conditions of >30 kbar and >750°C. Titanite, where diffusion is slower, is present in the gneiss unit as late-stage overgrowths on rutile, but records T that are approximately 150°C higher than the rutile inclusions at all P. This appears to be consistent with all minerals forming above 750°C and possibly much higher P, with quartz and rutile being reset along the retrograde path due to more rapid diffusion. When crystal sizes are taken into account, rutile and quartz are predicted to close to Zr and Ti exchange at similar T ≈ 600-650°C. Intersections of P-T lines among two or more minerals with similar closure behavior may reflect P,T at points along a retrograde path or can be used to constrain cooling rate, and may have advantages relative to using a single thermobarometer.