Progress of hydration reactions in olivine-H2O and orthopyroxenite-H2O systems at 250C and vapor-saturated pressure

Atsushi Okamoto, Yuichi Ogasawara, Yasumasa Ogawa, Noriyoshi Tsuchiya

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53 Citations (Scopus)


We conducted hydrothermal experiments in olivine (Ol; Fo91)-H2O and orthopyroxenite (Opx; composed of 95% of orthopyroxene, En66)-H2O systems under conditions of 250C and vapor-saturated pressure (Psat) to examine the temporal evolution of the solution chemistry and products in runs of up to 1008h in duration. The maximal degree of hydration (i.e., H2O content in the solid sample) in the Ol-H2O experiments (3.6wt.%) was much higher than that in the Opx-H2O experiments (0.4wt.%). In the Ol-H2O experiments, Mg and Si in solution showed an initial increase (stage I) before decreasing (stage II) and finally attaining a steady state after 504h (stage III). Following a drop in silica activity toward the level of brucite stability field, the products also changed from serpentine+magnetite (stages I and II) to serpentine+brucite+magnetite (stage III). Serpentine minerals also changed from lizardite (stages I and II) to lizardite+chrysotile (stage III). The zoning pattern of the products around olivine at 1008h (brucite+serpentine at the olivine contact, and serpentine at the outermost rim) is consistent with the temporal changes in the mineralogy of the products, and is similar to the pattern observed in the mesh rims in partly serpentinized dunites. In the Opx-H2O experiments, chlorite formed after orthopyroxene grains, which differs from the formation of talc and serpentine after orthopyroxene (bastite), as observed in natural hydrated harzburgites. The Opx-H2O system maintained 10-103 times higher silica activity than Ol-H2O system, suggesting that brucite does not form after olivine during hydration of peridotites when the Ol-H2O system is linked to the Opx-H2O system. The progress of hydration reactions is affected by mechanical properties of host rocks. The hydration reactions observed in this study produced hierarchical fractures in the reactants, which became filled with reaction products, similar to mesh textures after olivine in natural peridotites. This reaction-induced fracturing produced new reaction surfaces and fluid pathways that enhanced the hydration reactions. The overall reaction producing serpentine+brucite in the Ol-H2O experiments showed the large volume expansion (V/V0=1.43 at stage III), whereas that producing only serpentine proceeded with near constant volume (V/V0=1.19 at stage I). The volume expansion is more difficult to occur in the oceanic lithosphere than in our experiments during serpentinization. Thus, in the case that volume expansion is prevented at reaction sites, one of the following outcomes occurs: (1) the hydration reaction stops until new fractures form, or (2) the reaction proceeds with low volume expansion (absence of brucite) by removing Mg from the system. These two outcomes would produce contrasting distributions or extent of hydration in oceanic lithosphere.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-255
Number of pages11
JournalChemical Geology
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Oct 23


  • Hydration
  • Hydrothermal experiments
  • Mesh texture
  • Oceanic lithosphere
  • Serpentinization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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