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8.5: Metamorphic Rocks of Different Compositions

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    Compositional Classes of Metamorphic Rocks
    rock class protolith
    metapelites shale and related sediments
    metasandstones sandstones
    metacarbonates limestone or dolostone
    metamorphosed iron formation iron-rich sediments
    metagranites granitic rocks
    metabasalts basaltic rocks

    Metamorphic rocks may contain all the minerals common in sedimentary and igneous rocks, plus many minerals exclusive to metamorphic rocks. The two most important factors controlling mineralogy are the composition of the rock and the pressure-temperature conditions of metamorphism. For convenience, we divide the most common rock types into general compositional classes. The table seen here lists the most important classes considered by petrologists.

    The composition of a metamorphic rock, which is the composition of the protolith, is key because it controls the metamorphic minerals that may be present. Metamorphic minerals in metapelites, metacarbonates, metabasites, metagranites, etc., are all different because of differences in rock chemistry. Metapelites typically contain micas and may also contain staurolite, garnet, and other aluminous minerals. Besides containing calcite or dolomite, metacarbonates may contain Ca-Mg silicates. Metagranites usually contain the minerals that igneous granites contain. And, metabasites commonly contain plagioclase, pyroxenes, and amphiboles. In the discussions below, we look at the minerals common in rocks of different compositions. The focus is mostly on prograde minerals, but rocks of any composition may undergo retrograde metamorphism or alteration that produce a variety of low-temperature minerals.

    This page titled 8.5: Metamorphic Rocks of Different Compositions is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Dexter Perkins via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

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