Principles of Metamorphic Petrology



The field of metamorphic petrology has seen spectacular advances in the past decade, including new X-ray mapping techniques for characterizing metamorphic rocks and minerals, new internally consistent thermobarometers, new software for constructing and viewing phase diagrams, new methods to date metamorphic processes, and perhaps most significant, revised petrologic databases and the ability to calculate accurate phase diagrams and pseudosections. These tools and techniques provide new power and resolution for constraining pressure-temperature (P-T) histories and tectonic events.

Two books have been fundamental for empowering petrologists and structural geologists during the past decade. Frank Spear's Metamorphic Phase Equilibria and Pressure-Temperature-Time Paths, published in 1993, builds on his seminal papers to provide a quantitative framework for P-T path analysis. Spear's book lays the foundation for modern quantitative metamorphic analysis. Cees Passchier and Rudolph Trouw's Microtectonics, published in 2005, with its superb photos and figures, provides the tools and the theory for interpreting deformation textures and inferring deformation processes.