A Caltech Library Service

Experimental petrology and global tectonics — A preview

Wyllie, Peter J. (1973) Experimental petrology and global tectonics — A preview. Tectonophysics, 17 (3). pp. 189-209. ISSN 0040-1951. doi:10.1016/0040-1951(73)90002-4.

Full text is not posted in this repository. Consult Related URLs below.

Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


The new global tectonics provides a convenient tectonic framework for igneous and metamorphic petrology in the five environments: oceanic plates, continental plates, divergent plate boundaries, convergent plate boundaries, and transform plate boundaries. Models have been developed involving: 1. (1)the generation of oceanic crust from basalt and serpentinite at mid-ocean ridges; 2. (2) metamorphism and hydration of the crust to yield greenschist, hornblende-gabbro, or amphibolite; 3. (3) lateral transport of the crust by sea-floor spreading; 4. (4) subduction of the crust at convergent plate boundaries, with 5. (5) blueschist metamorphism associated with oceanic trenches; 6. (6) transformation of the subducted crust into quartz-eclogite; 7. (7) partial fusion of amphibolite or quartz eclogite and subducted oceanic sediments to yield the calc-alkaline magma series; and 8. (8) the emplacement of batholiths in high-temperature metamorphic rocks at the base of the island or continental margin arc complexes. We have assumed starting materials, beginning with mantle peridotite beneath the oceanic rises, and a series of processes involving partial fusion of mantle peridotite, crystallization, hydration, solid-solid phase transformations, dehydration, and partial fusion of the diverse materials in the subducted oceanic crust. Experimental petrology makes possible the testing of models and determination of the pressures and temperatures for the operation of these processes. Water is an important component. For processes at the oceanic ridges we do not know how much water is juvenile and how much is introduced from the ocean. The hydrated oceanic rocks are subducted and then dehydrated, but there remains some uncertainty about whether this water is carried deep enough to participate in the generation of calc-alkaline magmas, and possibly juvenile water is involved. The combined approaches of geophysics, geochemistry, geology, and experimental petrology within the framework of the new global tectonics are providing new insights into the differentiation of the earth.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Additional Information:© 1973 Elsevier B.V. Accepted for publication November 7, 1972. Introductory, paper for the symposium ‘Experimental Petrology and Global Tectonics’. I thank the Organizing Committee of the 24th International Geological Congress in Montreal for accepting this symposium on the program; the authors of the following papers for contributing to it, and for their good response to deadlines for manuscripts and revisions; to the reviewers who guided manuscript revisions; and to the National Science Foundation for Grant GA-29426 which supports my research on the talc-alkaline rock series.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20160126-094819995
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Peter J. Wyllie, Experimental petrology and global tectonics —A preview, Tectonophysics, Volume 17, Issue 3, April 1973, Pages 189-209, ISSN 0040-1951, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:63965
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:26 Jan 2016 18:32
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 23:23

Repository Staff Only: item control page