Contrib. Mineral. Petrol. sous presse, 2003, 145, 251-263.

A developmental model of olivine morphology as a function of the cooling rate and the degree of undercooling

François Faure, Gilles Trolliard, Christian Nicollet, Jean-Marc Montel


We performed dynamic crystallization experiments in the CMAS system at one-atmosphere to investigate the evolution of the morphology of forsterite crystals as a function of cooling rate and degree of undercooling. In sections parallel to the (010) plane, we observed the evolution of the forsterite morphology from tablets to hopper (skeletal) crystals, and then to swallowtail shapes (dendritic morphology) for increased degree of undercooling. The other shapes described in the literature can be interpreted as particular sections of those three shapes. The onset of dendritic growth is due to a competition between the growth of the faces of the initial hopper crystal and dendrite overgrowths. The forsterite dendrites are formed by a succession of units which look like hopper shape. This result has been tested by an additional set of experiments.