The formation of metamorphic garnet during isobaric heating is simulated on the basis of the classical nucleation and reaction rate theories and Gibbs free energy dissipation in a multi-component model system. The relative influences are studied of interfacial energy, chemical mobility at the surface of garnet clusters, heating rate and pressure on interface-controlled garnet nucleation and growth kinetics. It is found that the interfacial energy controls the departure from equilibrium required to nucleate garnet if attachment and detachment processes at the surface of garnet limit the overall crystallization rate. The interfacial energy for nucleation of garnet in a metapelite of the aureole of the Nelson Batholith, BC, is estimated to range between 0.03 and 0.3 J/m2 at a pressure of ca. 3,500 bar. This corresponds to a thermal overstep of the garnet-forming reaction of ca. 30°C. The influence of the heating rate on thermal overstepping is negligible. A significant feedback is predicted between chemical fractionation associated with garnet formation and the kinetics of nucleation and crystal growth of garnet giving rise to its lognormal-shaped crystal size distribution.

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Keywords Chemical diffusion, Crystal growth, CSD, Heating rate, Interfacial energy, Nucleation
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Journal Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Gaidies, F, Pattison, D.R.M., & de Capitani, C. (2011). Toward a quantitative model of metamorphic nucleation and growth. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 162(5), 975–993. doi:10.1007/s00410-011-0635-2