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Despite the fact that epidote group minerals are very typical for metamorphism at very low pressure, e.g., in geothermal fields (Bird and Spieler 2004), the first successful synthesis of zoisite and epidotess was reported by Coes (1955) in a paper in the Journal of American Ceramic Society entitled “High pressure minerals.” Synthesis conditions were 1 GPa at 800°C; zoisite was obtained from a mixture of kaolin, SiO2, CaO, and CaCl2, whereas epidote was formed by adding FeCl2•H2O to the previous mixture. Once experimental facilities enabled pressures exceeding a few hundred MPa, zoisite and epidote minerals were easily obtained from a variety of starting materials, made of oxides, gels and glasses.
Historically, early experimental studies on epidote focused on the formation at low pressure conditions, and then ventured into the simple system CaO-Al2O3-SiO2-H2O at conditions attainable by piston cylinder equipment (Newton and Kennedy 1963; Boettcher 1970) in which zoisite was found to have an extremely large temperature stability. Then, the role of Fe3+ was investigated systematically at pressures typical for the middle and lower continental crust (Holdaway 1972; Liou 1973). Epidote minerals in bulk compositions directly applicable to natural rocks were not investigated experimentally until the early 70’s (Liou et al. 1974; Apted and Liou 1983). Subsequent studies in the context of the very popular hydrous phase stabilities at subduction conditions in the 90’s extended the experimentally determined stability of epidotess in natural compositions to 3.5 GPa. With the relatively easy access to multi-anvil machines, the pressure stability of zoisite was defined (Poli and Schmidt 1998).
The increasing number of experimental studies on epidote minerals reveals that the members of this group of ubiquitous rock forming minerals have …