• X-ray diffraction;
  • metapelitic zone;
  • illite crystallinity;
  • percentage of illite in I/S mixed layers;
  • percentage of I/S mixed layers;
  • the metamorphic map


X-ray diffraction methods for estimating the metamorphic grade of diagenetic, anchizone and epizone in metapelites are reviewed and applied to samples from a 7000 m+ borehole in western China and surface samples from the surrounding Zoigê area. Kübler's illite crystallinity (IC) measurements provide more consistent results than calculated values of percentage of illite in the I/S mixed layers and percentage of I/S mixed layers. Down-borehole IC values display a typical burial metamorphic relationship between stratigraphic level and IC. A method for preparing very low grade metamorphic maps is described, and isograds plotted on a regional geological map at selected values of IC, delineating a high temperature diagenetic zone, an anchizone, and an epizone. The map shows that IC values are controlled by stratigraphic level in the north of the study area (i.e. burial metamorphism), and proximity to an igneous intrusive body in the south (i.e. contact metamorphism).