Competitive hydration and dehydration at olivine-quartz boundary revealed by hydrothermal experiments: Implications for silica metasomatism at the crust-mantle boundary

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Abstract

Serpentinization occurs via interactions between mantle peridotite and water that commonly passes through the crust. Given that such a fluid has a high silica activity compared with mantle peridotite, it is thought that serpentinization and silica metasomatism occur simultaneously at the crust-mantle boundary. In this study, we conducted hydrothermal experiments in the olivine (Ol)-quartz (Qtz)-H2O system at 250 °C and vapor-saturated pressure under highly alkaline conditions (NaOHaq, pH = 13.8 at 25 °C) to clarify the mechanism of silica metasomatism at the crust-mantle boundary. Composite powders consisting of a Qtz layer and an Ol layer were set in tube-in-tube vessels. After the experiments, the extents of serpentinization and metasomatic reactions were evaluated as a function of distance from the Ol-Qtz boundary.The mineralogy of the reaction products in the Ol-hosted region changed with increasing distance from the Ol-Qtz boundary, from smectite + serpentine (Smc zone) to serpentine + brucite + magnetite (Brc zone). Olivine hydration proceeded in both zones, but the total H2O content in the products was greater in the Brc zone than in the Smc zone. Mass balance calculations revealed that olivine hydration occurred without any supply of silica in the brucite zone. In contrast, the Smc zone was formed by silica metasomatism via competitive hydration and dehydration reactions. In the Smc zone, smectite formed via the simultaneous progress of olivine hydration and serpentine dehydration, and around the boundary of the Smc and Brc zones, serpentine formation occurred by olivine hydration and brucite dehydration. The relative extent of hydration and dehydration reactions controlled the along-tube variation in the rate of H2O production/consumption and the rate of volume increase. Our findings suggest that the competitive progress of serpentinization and silica metasomatic reactions would cause fluctuations in pore fluid pressure, possibly affecting the mechanical behavior of the crust-mantle boundary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-54
Number of pages11
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume425
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Sep 1

Keywords

  • Crust-mantle boundary
  • Hydrothermal experiments
  • Pore fluid pressure
  • Serpentinization
  • Silica metasomatism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

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