Cu diffusivity in granitic melts with application to the formation of porphyry Cu deposits

  • Huaiwei Ni
  • Huifeng Shi
  • Li Zhang
  • Wan-Cai Li
  • Xuan Guo
  • Ting Liang
Original Paper


We report new experimental data of Cu diffusivity in granite porphyry melts with 0.01 and 3.9 wt% H2O at 0.15–1.0 GPa and 973–1523 K. A diffusion couple method was used for the nominally anhydrous granitic melt, whereas a Cu diffusion-in method using Pt95Cu5 as the source of Cu was applied to the hydrous granitic melt. The diffusion couple experiments also generate Cu diffusion-out profiles due to Cu loss to Pt capsule walls. Cu diffusivities were extracted from error function fits of the Cu concentration profiles measured by LA-ICP-MS. At 1 GPa, we obtain \({D_{{\text{Cu, dry, 1 GPa}}}}=\exp \left[ {( - {\text{13.89}} \pm {\text{0.42}}) - \frac{{{\text{12878}} \pm {\text{540}}}}{T}} \right],\) and \({D_{{\text{Cu, 3}}{\text{.9 wt\% }}{{\text{H}}_{\text{2}}}{\text{O}},{\text{ 1 GPa}}}}=\exp \left[ {( - 16.31 \pm 1.30) - \frac{{{\text{8148}} \pm {\text{1670}}}}{T}} \right],\) where D is Cu diffusivity in m2/s and T is temperature in K. The above expressions are in good agreement with a recent study on Cu diffusion in rhyolitic melt using the approach of Cu2S dissolution. The observed pressure effect over 0.15–1.0 GPa can be described by an activation volume of 5.9 cm3/mol for Cu diffusion. Comparison of Cu diffusivity to alkali diffusivity and its variation with melt composition implies fourfold-coordinated Cu+ in silicate melts. Our experimental results indicate that in the formation of porphyry Cu deposits, the diffusive transport of magmatic Cu to sulfide liquids or fluid bubbles is highly efficient. The obtained Cu diffusivity data can also be used to assess whether equilibrium Cu partitioning can be reached within certain experimental durations.


Cu diffusivity Granitic melt Porphyry Cu deposits 



We thank Xiaolin Xiong for providing capsule material and two anonymous reviewers for constructive comments. This study was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (41590622, 41473058, 41721002), the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDB18000000), the 111 Project of Ministry of Education, China, and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities of China (WK2080000102).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CAS Key Laboratory of Crust-Mantle Materials and Environments, School of Earth and Space SciencesUniversity of Science and Technology of ChinaHefeiChina

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