Near-liquidus growth of feldspar spherulites in trachytic melts: 3D morphologies and implications in crystallization mechanisms

Abstract : The nucleation and growth processes of spherulitic alkali feldspar have been investigated in this study through X-ray microtomography and electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) data. Here we present the first data on Shape Preferred Orientation (SPO) and Crystal Preferred Orientation (CPO) of alkali feldspar within spherulites. The analysis of synchrotron X-ray microtomography and EBSD datasets allowed us to study the morphometric characteristics of spherulites in trachytic melts in quantitative fashion, highlighting the three-dimensional shape, preferred orientation, branching of lamellae and crystal twinning, providing insights about the nucleation mechanism involved in the crystallization of the spherulites. The nucleation starts with a heterogeneous nucleus (pre-existing crystal or bubble) and subsequently it evolves forming “bow tie” morphologies, reaching radially spherulitic shapes in few hours. Since each lamella within spherulite is also twinned, these synthetic spherulites cannot be considered as single nuclei but crystal aggregates originated by heterogeneous nucleation. A twin boundary may have a lower energy than general crystal–crystal boundaries and many of the twinned grains show evidence of strong local bending which, combined with twin plane, creates local sites for heterogeneous nucleation. This study shows that the growth rates of the lamellae (10− 6–10− 7 cm/s) in spherulites are either similar or slightly higher than that for single crystals by up to one order of magnitude. Furthermore, the highest volumetric growth rates (10− 11–10− 12 cm3/s) show that the alkali feldspar within spherulites can grow fast reaching a volumetric size of ~ 10 μm3 in 1 s.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, July 7, 2015 - 12:08:07 PM
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Fabio Arzilli, Lucia Mancini, Marco Voltolini, Maria Rita Cicconi, Sara Mohammadi, et al.. Near-liquidus growth of feldspar spherulites in trachytic melts: 3D morphologies and implications in crystallization mechanisms. Lithos, Elsevier, 2015, 216, pp.93-105. ⟨10.1016/j.lithos.2014.12.003⟩. ⟨hal-01172356⟩

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