There was one statement in the examiner’s report which raised my eyebrows a bit. One of the two examiners expressed “surprise” that I made no use of Thermocalc “pseudosections”, which said examiner has found to give consistent results for a variety of compositions. He is correct; my thesis did not make use of that particular program for that task. Instead I used the program Perple_X, to which I was introduced first. I did consider also learning Thermocalc, and Theriak-Domino as well, since each program approaches the task slightly differently. However, it was recommended to me that rather than learning several different programs for the same sort of tasks that I instead focus on one and use the time not spent learning the mechanics of the other programs generating additional data for other aspects of the thesis. Around this same time I read a paper* by an author who did take the time to use those three different programs to model the same samples, and achieved similar, though not identical, results with each. The advice sounding reasonable to me, and the paper further convinced me that since different tools will give similar results that the important thing was to simply choose one of them. I can fully understand having a preference for one program over the other when doing such modeling and creating such diagrams, but never will I be surprised if a student working on their PhD chooses to go with only one program to accomplish a specific type of task. Today’s students are given a limited amount of time to complete their degree and failure to submit the thesis by the University imposed deadline results in loss of funding/support. Given such constraints it is not possible to use every program available, without sacrificing other sections of the research and some choices must be made.
*Hoschek, G., 2004. Comparison of calculated P-T pseudosections for a kyanite eclogite from the Tauern Window, Eastern Alps, Austria. European Journal of Mineralogy, 16(1), 59-72.