Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 160, Issue 4, pp 551–568 | Cite as

Effect of oxygen fugacity and water on phase equilibria of a hydrous tholeiitic basalt

  • Sandrin T. FeigEmail author
  • Jürgen Koepke
  • Jonathan E. Snow
Original Paper


The influence of oxygen fugacity and water on phase equilibria and the link between redox conditions and water activity were investigated experimentally using a primitive tholeiitic basalt composition relevant to the ocean crust. The crystallization experiments were performed in internally heated pressure vessels at 200 MPa in the temperature range 940–1,220°C. The oxygen fugacity was measured using the H2-membrane technique. To study the effect of oxygen fugacity, three sets of experiments with different hydrogen fugacities were performed, showing systematic effects on the phase relations and compositions. In each experimental series, the water content of the system was varied from nominally dry to water-saturated conditions, causing a range of oxygen fugacities varying by ~3 log units per series. The range in oxygen fugacity investigated spans ~7 log units. Systematic effects of oxygen fugacity on the stability and composition of the mafic silicate phases, Cr–spinel and Fe–Ti oxides, under varying water contents were recorded. The Mg# of the melt, and therefore also the Mg# of olivine and clinopyroxene, changed systematically as a function of oxygen fugacity. An example of the link between oxygen fugacity and water activity under hydrogen-buffered conditions is the change in the crystallization sequence (olivine and Cr–spinel) due to a change in the oxygen fugacity caused by an increase in the water activity. The stability of magnetite is restricted to highly oxidizing conditions. The absence of magnetite in most of the experiments allows the determination of differentiation trends as a function of oxygen fugacity and water content, demonstrating that in an oxide-free crystallization sequence, water systematically affects the differentiation trend, while oxygen fugacity seems to have a negligible effect.


Oxygen fugacity Water Basalt Phase equilibria Differentiation Crystallization experiments 



Otto Diedrich’s careful sample preparation is gratefully acknowledged. We are thankful to J. Hoefs for his editorial work and to the reviewers for their careful reviews and helpful suggestions. The manuscript has been substantially improved after thorough reviews by two anonymous reviewers. The sample used in this research was provided by the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP). ODP is sponsored by the US National Science Fundation (NSF) and participating countries under management of Joint Oceanographic Institutions (JOI), Inc. The funding for this research was provided by a grant from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (KO 1723/4-2). Jonathan E. Snow was supported by a Heisenberg Fellowship from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.

Supplementary material

410_2010_493_MOESM1_ESM.eps (867 kb)
Supplementary Fig. 1 Oxygen fugacity of the experiments as a function of temperature. Three sets of experiments, represented by the symbole colour, were performed at different hydrogen fugacities. At a given temperature, four different water contents were applied, represented by the shape of the symbole (XH2O is the initial molar H2O/(H2O + CO2) in the charge). The oxygen buffer curves are calculated after Chou (1987) with values of Schwab and Küstner (1981; QFM and NNO) and Huebner and Sato (1970; MnO-Mn3O4). The calculated values for each sample are shown in Table 1(EPS 867 kb)
410_2010_493_MOESM2_ESM.xls (84 kb)
Supplementary Table 2 (XLS 83 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandrin T. Feig
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jürgen Koepke
    • 1
  • Jonathan E. Snow
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of MineralogyUniversity of HannoverHannoverGermany
  2. 2.CODESUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  3. 3.Department of GeosciencesUniversity of HoustonHoustonUSA

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