Solubility of water in the α, β and γ phases of (Mg,Fe)2SiO4
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The solubility of hydroxyl in the α, β and γ phases of (Mg,Fe)2SiO4 was investigated by hydrothermally annealing single crystals of San Carlos olivine. Experiments were performed at a temperature of 1000° or 1100 °C under a confining pressure of 2.5 to 19.5 GPa in a multianvil apparatus with the oxygen fugacity buffered by the Ni:NiO solid-state reaction. Hydroxyl solubilities were determined from infrared spectra obtained of polished thin sections in crack-free regions ≤100 μm in diameter. In the α-stability field, hydroxyl solubility increases systematically with increasing confining pressure, reaching a value of ∼20,000 H/106Si (1200 wt ppm H2O) at the α-β phase boundary near 13 GPa and 1100 °C. In the β field, the hydroxyl content is ∼400,000 H/106Si (24,000 wt ppm H2O) at 14–15 GPa and 1100 °C. In the γ field, the solubility is ∼450,000 H/106Si (27,000 wt ppm H2O) at 19.5 GPa and 1100 °C. The observed dependence of hydroxyl solubility with increasing confining pressure in the α phase reflects an increase in water fugacity with increasing pressure moderated by a molar volume term associated with the incorporation of hydroxyl ions into the olivine structure. Combined with published results on the dependence of hydroxyl solubility on water fugacity, the present results for the α phase can be summarized by the relation COH = A(T)f nH2Oexp(−PΔV/RT), where A(T) = 1.1 H/106Si/MPa at 1100 °C, n = 1, and ΔV = 10.6×10–6 m3/mol. These data demonstrate that the entire present-day water content of the upper mantle could be incorporated in the mineral olivine alone; therefore, a free hydrous fluid phase cannot be stable in those regions of the upper mantle with a normal concentration of hydrogen. Free hydrous fluids are restricted to special tectonic environments, such as the mantle wedge above a subduction zone.
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