Petrology of Metamorphic Rocks

Petrology of metamorphic rocks focuses on investigations of the composition, microstructure, and texture of crystalline rocks that had experienced chemical, mineralogical or microstructural changes at elevated pressure and temperature conditions. Processes of new formation and recrystallization of mineral phases from initially sedimentary, igneous or already metamorphic rocks leave hints to the rock evolution in time and the ambient conditions during rock transformation.
A research topic, for example, is the investigation of the polymetamorphic evolution of crystalline basement units in the Alpine orogen. One focus area is the evolution of the Penninic ophiolites during the Tertiary low T-high P metamorphism within the framework of the Alpine orogenesis and the history of the ancient Piemont and Valais oceanic domains. Another topic focuses on the tectonometamorphic evolution of Austroalpine crystalline basement units affected by Carboniferous, Permian-Triassic and Cretaceous metamorphism at different metamorphic grades.
We investigate the mechanisms of chemical (re-)equilibration and of structure and texture formation during metamorphic overprinting with special focus to mineral inclusions - host crystal relationships and to the interaction of chemical reactions and deformation. We also perform petrological studies on granulite samples from all over the world, in order to enhance understanding of the preservation and modification of high-grade phase relations.
Unravelling the petrogenetic history of metamorphic rocks helps to establish and test geodynamic models for orogen evolution and enhances understanding of the effective processes during rock transformations associated with metamorphism. The polymetamorphic nature of the investigated rocks demands for a thorough understanding of the interplay between major and trace element equilibration and deformation. In this context strong links are maintained to the fields of structural geology and geochronology.