The staurolite-biotite-garnet-cordierite-andalusite-plagioclase-muscovite-quartz metapelitic mineral assemblage has been frequently interpreted in the literature as a result of superimposition of various metamorphic events, for example, in polymetamorphic sequences. The assemblage was identified in schists from the Ancasti metamorphic complex (Sierras Pampeanas of Argentina) where previous authors have favoured the polymetamorphic genetic interpretation. A pseudosection in the MnNCKFMASH system for the analysed XRF bulk composition predicts the stability of the sub-assemblage staurolite-biotite-garnet-plagioclase-muscovite-quartz, and the compositional isopleths also agree with measured mineral compositions. Nevertheless, the XRF pseudosection does not predict any field with staurolite, andalusite and cordierite being stable together. As a result of more detailed modelling making use of the effective bulk composition concept, our interpretation is that the staurolite-biotite-garnet-plagioclase-muscovite-quartz sub-assemblage was present at peak metamorphic conditions, 590°C and 5.2kbar, but that andalusite and cordierite grew later along a continuous P-T path. These minerals are not in mutual contact and are observed in separate microstructural domains with different proportions of staurolite. These domains are explained as a result of local reaction equilibrium subsystems developed during decompression and influenced by the previous peak crystal size and local modal distribution of staurolite porphyroblasts that have remained metastable. Thus, andalusite and cordierite grew synchronously, although in separate microdomains, and represent the decompression stage at 565°C and 3.5kbar. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
- Effective bulk composition