Quantitative analysis of crystal-interface frequencies in granitoids: Implications for modelling of parent-rock texture and its influence on the properties of plutoniclastic sands

Gert Jan Weltje, Bram Paredis, Luca Caracciolo, William A. Heins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Generation of sediments from crystalline rocks is the result of a complex and incompletely understood suite of processes. The time evolution of the rock-fragment assemblage in sands derived from granitoids is determined by the relative strengths of crystal interfaces and their abundances in the parent rock. In this study we highlight the role of crystal-interface frequencies in granitoids. Strong evidence for non-random texture with significant implications for predicted interface frequencies have been reported in previous studies. We analysed available interface-frequency data from granitoids using methods of compositional data analysis, and connected our results to existing texture classifications. On average, granitoids display a high degree of ordering with significant depletion of isomineralic interfaces relative to expectations based on random texture. Analysis of 210 normalized interface frequency distributions from nine different granitoids reveals a consistent pattern of variation among interface frequencies, which suggests a single underlying petrogenetic process related to the combined effects of nucleation and textural equilibration ("coarsening").In view of the large scatter of relative interface frequencies within and among granitoids, we propose to model their distribution empirically for the purpose of calibrating sediment-generation studies. Multivariate normal distributions of centred log-ratio transformed relative frequencies are capable of capturing ∼95% of the observed variability with a limited number of dimensions. As a rule of thumb, the number of dimensions needed to approximate interface-frequency counts can be taken equal to the number of mineral classes, which is (much) smaller than the number of interface classes. Mathematical analysis shows that the joint variability of rock texture and composition may be factorized into three statistically independent measures: modal composition, crystal-size probability density functions, and normalized interface frequencies. The potential independence of these measures permits objective identification of petrogenetically significant correlations among them, which will be indicated by statistically significant cross-covariances. At this stage, inferences from microscopic texture analysis cannot be extrapolated to the scale of entire drainage basins in which sediments are generated, because insufficient data are available on the large-scale spatial heterogeneity of texture and composition of granitoid parent rocks.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSedimentary Geology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Compositional data analysis
  • Crystal interfaces
  • Granitoids
  • Quantitative texture classification
  • Sediment generation

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