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Deciphering temperature, pressure and oxygen-activity conditions of chlorite formation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2018

Olivier Vidal*
Isterre, CNRS, Université Grenoble Alpes, 1381 Rue de la Piscine, BP 53, Grenoble Cedex 09 38041, France
Pierre Lanari
Department of Geological Sciences, University of Bern Baltzerstrasse 1 + 3, Bern CH3012, Switzerland
Manuel Munoz
Isterre, CNRS, Université Grenoble Alpes, 1381 Rue de la Piscine, BP 53, Grenoble Cedex 09 38041, France
Franck Bourdelle
LGCgE, Université Lille, Bât. SN5, Villeneuve d’Ascq 59655, France
Vincent De Andrade
Argonne National Laboratory, 9700 South Cass Ave, Bldg 438-B007, Lemont, IL 60439, USA


The advantages and limits of empirical, semi-empirical and thermodynamic methods devoted to the estimation of chlorite-formation temperature are discussed briefly. The results of semiempirical and thermodynamic approaches with different assumptions regarding the redox state of iron in chlorite are compared for a large set of natural data covering a range of pressure conditions from a few hundred bars to 18 kbar and temperature from 100 to 500°C. The T-XFe3+ evolution estimated using the thermodynamic approach of Vidal et al. (2005) shows a systematic increase in XFe3+ with decreasing temperature, which is compatible with the decrease in aO2 buffered by magnetite- or hematite-chlorite equilibrium. This trend as well as the observed increase in vacancies in chlorite with decreasing temperature is interpreted as the incorporation of Fe3+-sudoite. The standard-state properties of this endmember have been derived to reproduce the observed T-aO2-XFe3+ evolutions. It can be used to estimate T-aO2-XFe3 values with a Chl-Qtz-H2O multi-equilibrium approach. When combining our results with those of other studies published recently, it appears that thermodynamic approaches and mapping techniques developed for metamorphic rocks can be used to discuss the conditions of formation of very low-grade rocks where kinetics is much more sluggish than in metamorphic rocks. This requires use of appropriate analytical tools and techniques with a spatial resolution of a few hundred nanometres.

Research Article
Copyright © The Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland 2016

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This work was originally presented during the session ‘The many faces of chlorite’, part of the Euroclay 2015 conference held in July 2015 in Edinburgh, UK.


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