Crystal-chemistry and cation ordering in the system diopside-jadeite: A detailed study by crystal structure refinement

Giuseppe Rossi, David C. Smith, Luciano Ungaretti, M. Chiara Domeneghetti

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The Nybö eclogite pod in Norway is characterized by a great variety of clinopyroxene compositions with Jd contents ranging from less than 5% up to nearly 80%, whilst Ac+Hd contents remain almost constant (mostly within 10±5%). Unconstrained X-ray structure refinement has been carried out on 16 pyroxene crystals (8 with C2/c and 8 with P2/n space group) from the Nybö eclogite, and also on one omphacite crystal (from Lago Mucrone in the Sesia-Lanzo Zone, Western Alps) which displays the highest degree of cation ordering yet described. The final discrepancy factors range from 0.014 to 0.029. The population of the sites has been determined on the basis of bond length considerations and of the results of the site occupancy refinement. Six of these crystals were subsequently analysed by electron microprobe. The tetrahedral sites are occupied by Si with negligible amounts of Al. Al, Mg, Fe3+ and Fe2+ occur at the octahedral sites; in the ordered P2/n crystals Al and Fe3+ are concentrated at the M11 site, whilst Mg and Fe2+ are concentrated and the M1 site. The eight-coordinated sites contain Ca and Na with negligible amounts of Fe and/or Mg. Ordering of Ca and Na takes place in the P2/n samples in such a way that in the most ordered crystal the M2 site contains almost exactly 0.75 Na+0.25 Ca and the M21 site 0.25 Na+0.75 Ca. Some geometrical features of the tetrahedra as well as of the octahedra (e.g. tetrahedral quadratic elongation and TILT angle) are not a simple linear function of composition, even when no change in space group occurs. The crystals evidently do not behave like a binary system of the two components, Di and Jd, but behave rather as if the composition Di0.50 Jd0.50 was a distinct end member. The boundaries between disordered and ordered phases in the Nybö pyroxenes fall at about 0.35 and 0.65 Jd/(Di+ Jd), in close agreement with the previous TEM investigations. The degree of order varies with composition following a bell-shaped curve: different coaxial bell-shaped curves can be drawn for crystals which have similar compositions but come from different metamorphic environments. The order vs composition diagrams may be useful for the interpretation of the P-T-t histories of the host rocks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-258
Number of pages12
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Sep 1983
Externally publishedYes


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