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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter February 26, 2019

Application of mineral equilibria to estimate fugacities of H2O, H2, and O2 in mantle xenoliths from the southwestern U.S.A.

Lindsey E. Hunt and William M. Lamb EMAIL logo
From the journal American Mineralogist

Abstract

Small amounts of H2O, on the order of tens to hundreds of parts per million, can significantly influence the physical properties of mantle rocks. Determining the H2O contents of nominally anhydrous minerals (NAMs) is one relatively common technique that has been applied to estimate mantle H2O contents. However, for many mantle NAMs, the relation between H2O activity and H2O content is not well known. Furthermore, certain mantle minerals may be prone to H2O loss during emplacement on Earth’s surface. The goal of this study is to apply mineral equilibria to estimate values of aH2O in rocks that originated below the Moho.

The chemical compositions of olivine + orthopyroxene + clinopyroxene + amphibole + spinel ± garnet were used to estimate values of temperature (T), pressure (P), aH2O, hydrogen fugacity (fH2), and oxygen fugacity (fO2) in 11 amphibole-bearing mantle xenoliths from the southwestern U.S.A. Application of amphibole dehydration equilibria yields values of aH2O ranging from 0.05 to 0.26 for these 11 samples and the compositions of coexisting spinel + olivine + orthopyroxene yield ΔlogfO2 (FMQ) of -1 to +0.6. For nine of the samples, values of fH2 were estimated using amphibole dehydrogenation equilibria, and these values of fH2 ranged from 6 to 91 bars. Values of fH2 and fO2 were combined, using the relation 2H2O = 2H2 + O2, to estimate a second value of aH2O that ranged from 0.01 to 0.57 for these nine samples. Values of aH2O, estimated using these two methods on the same sample, generally agree to within 0.05. This agreement indicates that the amphibole in these samples has experienced little or no retrograde H-loss and that amphibole equilibria yields robust estimates of aH2O that, in these xenoliths, are generally <0.3, and are often 0.1 or less.

  1. Funding Support for this research was provided, in part, by a grant awarded to W. Lamb and R. Popp from the Texas Advanced Research Program.

Acknowledgments

This paper has benefitted from comments provided by two anonymous reviewers. We thank Myron Best and the Smithsonian Institute, specifically the Division of Petrology and Volcanology, Department of Mineral Sciences, for providing the xenolith samples used in this study. Thanks also to Ayati Ghosh for assistance in requesting samples, Robert Popp for assistance and enlightening discussions, and Ray Guillemette for his assistance with the electron microprobe analyses at Texas A&M.

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Received: 2018-04-24
Accepted: 2018-11-27
Published Online: 2019-02-26
Published in Print: 2019-03-26

© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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