As the temperature and/or pressure increases on a body of rock we say the rock undergoes prograde metamorphism or that the grade of metamorphism increases. Metamorphic grade is a general term for describing the relative temperature and pressure conditions under which metamorphic rocks form.
Low-grade metamorphism takes place at temperatures between about 200 to 320oC, and relatively low pressure. Low grade metamorphic rocks are generally characterized by an abundance of hydrous minerals. With increasing grade of metamorphism, the hydrous minerals begin to react with other minerals and/or break down to less hydrous minerals.
High-grade metamorphism takes place at temperatures greater than 320oC and relatively high pressure. As grade of metamorphism increases, hydrous minerals become less hydrous, by losing H2O, and non-hydrous minerals become more common.
Apr 2nd, 2015
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