- © The Mineralogical Society Of America
Epidote minerals—the monoclinic epidote group minerals together with the orthorhombic polymorph zoisite—are important Ca-Al-silicates in many metabasites, metapelites and metacherts that are characterized by high P/T ratios. Such high P/T ratios are typical for subduction zones and the high-pressure (HP) and ultrahigh-pressure (UHP) metamorphism during continent-continent collisions (e.g., Liou 1973, 1993). All of these P-T conditions can be described by geothermal gradients between 5 and 20°C/km, that therefore provide a rough framework for the P-T conditions covered by this review (Fig. 1⇓). Depending on the actual thermal structure of a subduction zone, the subducting plate will encounter subgreenschist, greenschist, blueschist, epidote-amphibolite, amphibolite, HP granulite, and/or eclogite facies conditions during its travel down into the mantle (Fig. 1⇓). The P-T regime of the eclogite facies can further be subdivided into amphibole eclogite, epidote eclogite, lawsonite eclogite, and dry eclogite facies (Fig. 1⇓). HP metamorphism refers to metamorphic pressure in excess of ~1.0 GPa and includes parts of the blueschist, epidote-amphibolite, and HP granulite facies as well as the eclogite facies (Fig. 1⇓). UHP refers to the metamorphism of crustal rocks (both continental and oceanic) at P high enough to crystallize the index minerals coesite and/or diamond. HP and UHP metamorphism are separated conveniently by the quartz-coesite equilibrium which implies a minimum P > 2.7 GPa at T > 600°C for UHP metamorphism (Fig. 1⇓). The equilibrium boundary for the graphite-diamond transition can be used to further subdivide the UHP region into diamond-grade and coesite-grade. The stability of coesite and other UHP minerals in a metamorphic regime requires abnormally low temperatures at depths greater than 100 km. Such environments can be attained only by the subduction of cold oceanic crust-capped lithosphere ± pelagic sediments or of continental crust.