Solubility of carbon dioxide in melts of andesite, tholeiite, and olivine nephelinite composition to 30 kbar pressure


Carbon dioxide solubilities in H2O-free hydrous silicate melts of natural andesite (CA), tholeiite (K 1921), and olivine nephelinite (OM1) compositions have been determined employing carbon-14 beta-track mapping techniques. The CO2 solubility increases with increasing pressure, temperature, and degree of silica-undersaturation of the silicate melt. At 1650° C, CO2 solubility in CA increases from 1.48±0.05 wt % at 15 kbar to 1.95±0.03 wt % at 30 kbar. The respective solubilities in OM1 are 3.41±0.08 wt % and 7.11±0.10 wt %. The CO2 solubility in K1921 is intermediate between those of CA and OM1 compositions. At lower temperatures, the CO2 contents of these silicate melts are lower, and the pressure dependence of the solubility is less pronounced. The presence of H2O also affects the CO2 solubility (20–30% more CO2 dissolves in hydrous than in H2O-free silicate melts); the solubility curves pass through an isothermal, isobaric maximum at an intermediate CO2/(CO2+H2O) composition of the volatile phase.

Under conditions within the upper mantle where carbonate minerals are not stable and CO2 and H2O are present a vapor phase must exist. Because the solubility of CO2 in silicate melts is lower than that of H2O, volatiles must fractionate between the melt and vapor during partial melting of peridotite. Initial low-temperature melts will be more H2O-rich than later high-temperature melts, provided vapor is present during the melting.

Published phase equilibrium data indicate that the compositional sequence of melts from peridotite +H2O+CO2 parent will be andesite-tholeiite-nephelinite with increasing temperature at a pressure of about 20 kbar. Examples of this sequence may be found in the Lesser Antilles and in the Indonesian Island Arcs.

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Mysen, B.O., Arculus, R.J. & Eggler, D.H. Solubility of carbon dioxide in melts of andesite, tholeiite, and olivine nephelinite composition to 30 kbar pressure. Contr. Mineral. and Petrol. 53, 227–239 (1975).

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  • Silicate
  • Olivine
  • Solubility Curve
  • Solubility Increase
  • Hydrous Silicate