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Experimental quantification of plagioclase crystal size distribution during cooling of a basaltic liquid

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Abstract

An experimental study has been conducted to constrain how thermal history controls crystal size distribution (CSD) of plagioclase in cooling basalts. Data from all experiments are dominated by a log-linear segment of decreasing number density with increasing crystal size, consistent with observations in many natural rocks. The slope of the CSD is found to be a function of cooling rate, faster cooling leading to greater slopes. At constant cooling rate the CSDs flatten as temperature decreases, and are sometimes kinked, characteristics consistent with independent textural observations that crystal agglomeration contributes significantly to crystal “growth”. A downturn is observed toward small size, which suggests Ostwald ripening. Furthermore, we find that thermal history above the liquidus has a major influence on CSDs and on the temperatures of phase appearance. We conclude that near the liquidus heterogeneous nucleation typically dominates.

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Acknowledgments

We are grateful to F. Faure and P. Barbey for informal discussions and comments on the manuscript. We thank L. Tissandier for his assistance with the experiments. Many thanks also to the students of Nancy University involved in the project during their undergraduate research projects (L. Sokpa, S. Karcher, E. Oliot, F. Bonnet, G. Maury, D. Cadiou, A.M. Müller, J. Jaffrain and J. Contet). This work benefited from financial support from the French Ministère de l’Education Nationale et de la Recherche and the Institut National des Sciences de la Terre (CNRS-INSU). The manuscript has benefited enormously from the comments of three very diligent anonymous reviewers, although the interpretations presented here remain the sole responsibility of the authors.

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Correspondence to Stéphanie Duchene.

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Communicated by J. Hoefs.

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410_2007_258_MOESM1_ESM.ps

Back-scattered electron images of polished sections of the experimental runs XP01-04, XP02-03 and XP07-06 at three distinct cooling rates. Quenching temperature: 1140°C. Dark crystals: plagioclase; grey matrix: glass; white patches: section of the platinum wire. Scale bar: 0.3 mm. (PS 1470 kb)

410_2007_258_MOESM2_ESM.eps

Back-scattered electron images of polished sections of experimental runs XP13 (Di = 125h) and XP14 (Di = 9h) at four quenching temperatures with a cooling rate of 1°C/h. Dark crystals: plagioclase; light grey matrix: glass; dark grey crystals: undistinguishable clinopyroxene and olivine; white patches: section of the platinum wire. Scale bar: 0.5 mm (EPS 12471 kb)

410_2007_258_MOESM3_ESM.ps

Back-scattered electron images of runs XP17 and XP19 corresponding to isothermal evolution at three quenching times at 1116°C (XP17) and 1150°C (XP19). Cooling rate before the isothermal plateau a = 1°C/h. Dark crystals: plagioclase; light grey matrix: glass; dark grey crystals: undistinguishable clinopyroxene and olivine; white patches: section of the platinum wire. Scale bar: 0.5 mm. (PS 4528 kb)

410_2007_258_MOESM4_ESM.ps

Back-scattered electron images of experiment XP13 showing agglomeration of plagioclase crystals. Dark crystals: plagioclase; grey matrix: glass; olivine grains contoured with a thin solid line; white patches: section of the platinum wire. (PS 2104 kb)

Length and Width of plagioclase crystals - Major and minor axes of best fitting ellipse for XP14 (XLS 71 kb)

Length and Width of plagioclase crystals - Major and minor axes of best fitting ellipse for XP19 (XLS 133 kb)

Length and Width of plagioclase crystals - Major and minor axes of best fitting ellipse for XP15 (XLS 52 kb)

Length and Width of plagioclase crystals - Major and minor axes of best fitting ellipse for XP13 (XLS 35 kb)

Length and Width of plagioclase crystals - Major and minor axes of best fitting ellipse for XP01 (XLS 122 kb)

Length and Width of plagioclase crystals - Major and minor axes of best fitting ellipse for XP03 (XLS 116 kb)

Length and Width of plagioclase crystals - Major and minor axes of best fitting ellipse for XP02 (XLS 222 kb)

Length and Width of plagioclase crystals - Major and minor axes of best fitting ellipse for XP07 (XLS 178 kb)

Length and Width of plagioclase crystals - Major and minor axes of best fitting ellipse for XP06 (XLS 167 kb)

Length and Width of plagioclase crystals - Major and minor axes of best fitting ellipse for XP17(XLS 60 kb)

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Pupier, E., Duchene, S. & Toplis, M.J. Experimental quantification of plagioclase crystal size distribution during cooling of a basaltic liquid. Contrib Mineral Petrol 155, 555–570 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00410-007-0258-9

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