Metamorphic rocks of undoubted crustal origin have been described in recent years, principally from Mediterranean collision zones that have been subjected to PT conditions along very low geothermal gradients (∼ 7°C/km) and have reached pressures up to 30 kbar. MgAl-rich metapelites develop particularly diagnostic high-pressure minerals and mineral assemblages that have been and are being studied experimentally in model systems involving the components K2O, MgO, Al2O3, TiO2, SiO2, P2O5, and H2O up to pressures of 50 kbar and temperatures of 1000°C.
In the present review the following synthetic phases and phase assemblages are discussed, emphasizing their water-pressure-temperature stability fields (approximated in parentheses here), their reaction relationships, and their known or potential occurrences in metamorphic rocks. Sudoite (0 to ∼ 12 kbar, 150? to 380°C) occurs in very low-grade metapelites. Mg-carpholite (∼ 7 to ∼ 45 kbar, ∼ 200 to 600°C) is found in subducted metabauxites, metapelites, and related quartz veins. Mg-chloritoid (18 to 45 kbar?; 400 to 760°C) has not been found in nature as pure or nearly pure end-member; it requires silica-deficient environments. Yoderite, known in nature only from a single talc-kyanite schist occurrence, has only a small stability field (9 to 18 kbar?, 700 to 870°C?), cannot coexist with quartz, but may be stabilized by Fe3+. Pyrope (∼ 15 to at least 50 kbar, ∼ 700°C to melting), with or without relic coesite inclusions, occurs spectacularly in quartzites. Mg-staurolite (∼ 14 to some 90 kbar?, 700 to 1000°C), recently discovered as inclusions in pyrope, requires silica-deficiency. MgMgAl-pumpellyite is a new synthetic phase in which Mg totally replaces Ca of normal pumpellyite; because of its very high-pressure, low-temperature stability (∼ 37 to at least 55 kbar, < 400 to 780°C) it may not form within our globe. Ellenbergerite, the new high-pressure mineral forming inclusions in pyrope, apparently exhibits a rather composition-dependent stability with Ti-ellenbergerite, requiring higher pressures (> 20 kbar) than P-bearing, Ti-free members; a pure hydrous Mg-phosphate with ellenbergerite structure was synthesized at 10 kbar. Phengites, the widespread MgSi-substituted muscovites, require increasingly high water pressures (up to ∼ 20 kbar) for higher degrees of substitution, but the Al-celadonite end-member is not stable under any conditions; the compositions of phengites coexisting with limiting assemblages such as phlogopite, K-feldspar, and an SiO2 phase are useful geobarometers. The common assemblage Mg-chlorite + Al2SiO5 (mainly kyanite) has an extensive stability field ranging from near zero to 31 kbar at temperatures varying from some 320 to ∼ 760°C depending on pressure. The whiteschist assemblage talc + kyanite (6 to ∼ 45 kbar, 550 to 810°C) plays an important role in collision zone metamorphism as it forms from the greenschist assemblage chlorite + quartz at low grades but is also known to break down into pyrope + coesite at the highest grade observed thus far. The assemblage talc-phengite (11 to at least 35 kbar, 300? to 820°C depending on pressure), on the other hand, is well known from subducted metapelites. At pressures of 15–20 kbar and temperatures of 400–650°C a very K,Mg-rich, siliceous fluid forms as a consequence of the mutual reaction of the minerals K-feldspar and phlogopite (biotite) which are very common in crustal rocks including granites. Such fluids are bound to cause metasomatism in neighbouring mantle rocks which, upon subsequent increase of temperature, produce post-collisional ultrapotassic, lamproitic melts.