Pressure dependence of graphitization: implications for rapid recrystallization of carbonaceous material in a subduction zone

Yoshihiro Nakamura, Takashi Yoshino, Madhusoodhan Satish-Kumar

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13 Citations (Scopus)


We report the results of kinetic experiments of graphitization at various pressures (0.5–8.0 GPa) and durations (1 s to 24 h) at 1200 °C. The natural carbonaceous material in sedimentary rocks from the Shimanto accretionary complex and the Hidaka metamorphic belt, Japan, underwent systematic changes in crystallinity and morphology with increasing pressure. To assess the pressure dependence of graphitization, we adopted three approaches to formulating the graphitization kinetics using a power law rate model, a Johnson–Mehl–Avrami–Kolmogorov model, and a superposition method. Activation volumes of − 21.7 ± 3.0 to − 45.7 ± 4.5 cm3 mol−1 and − 0.7 ± 0.2 to − 16.8 ± 1.8 cm3 mol−1 were obtained for pressures from 0.5 to 2.0 GPa and 2.0 to 8.0 GPa, respectively. Such large negative activation volumes might arise from structural modification and compression in the primary carbonaceous material. We applied the experimental data to the Arrhenius-type equation of graphitization, extrapolated to geological P–T–t conditions. Our model predicts that carbonaceous material undergoing metamorphism for ~ 10 Myr at pressures of 0.5–3.0 GPa will begin to crystallize at around 350–420 °C and transform fully to ordered graphite at around 450–600 °C, depending on the peak pressure. Thus, natural graphitization might proceed much more rapidly than previously estimated, owing to the large negative activation volumes for the reaction rate. This indicates that subducted carbonaceous materials will completely convert to fully ordered graphite by rapid recrystallization and metamorphic devolatilization before reaching sub-arc depths (< 100 km).

Original languageEnglish
Article number32
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2020


  • Activation volume
  • Carbonaceous material
  • Graphitization
  • HPHT experiment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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