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High pressure techniques

Wyllie, P. J. (1966) High pressure techniques. In: Methods and techniques in geophysics. Vol.2. Interscience Publishers , London, pp. 33-79.

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Of vital significance for an understanding of the origin and evolution of the earth is investigation of the physical properties and stability relationships of minerals and rocks at high pressures and temperatures, and of the more volatile components such as water and carbon dioxide which affect the behavior of the minerals and rocks under these conditions. Geophysical techniques, particularly the methods of seismology, provide information about the properties of the material within the earth, and high-pressure studies of materials of known composition are important supplements to the seismological studies. Geological and petrological studies of rocks now exposed at the surface of the earth lead to the formulation of hypotheses for the origin and history of these rocks and deductions about the composition of the material at depth from which some of the rocks are derived. These hypotheses can be tested by reproducing the estimated conditions of formation within the laboratory. The important processes occurring in the outer part of the earth usually involve heterogeneous equilibria. Within the earth's mantle, solid-solid phase transitions may account for seismic and density discontinuities whose existence has been deduced from geophysical observations. The formation of magmas within the mantle involves solid-liquid and perhaps solid- liquid- vapor reactions. Solid- liquid-vapor, solid-solid and solid-vapor reactions are involved in the igneous and metamorphic processes which proceed within the earth's crust. The deformation, folding and faulting of rocks is a mechanical process, but interstitial gases or solutions may have a profound effect. Many reviews of high-pressure research and of the applications of high-pressure studies to the earth sciences have been published, and these are outlined in the next section. In view of the plethora of reviews already available, one might justifiably question the utility of one more. As the Editor, S. K. Runcorn, remarked in the preface to the first volume in this series, it is hoped that the chapter may be of value to those who wish to embark on research using unfamiliar techniques, and to those who, having read and possibly applied the results of high-pressure studies, wish to inform themselves more fully about the methods used. The available reviews are usually concerned mainly with one aspect of the field, with 'very high pressures', for example references 26, 105, 16 and 106, or with 'hydrothermal' systems at moderate pressures, or with physical properties of rocks and minerals, or with a limited range of applications. I recently published a review which attempted to cover the whole range of experimental results now available for application to the earth sciences, but I am not aware of a review in which the whole range of high-pressure techniques has been considered in detail (reference 95 provides an outline for 1956). This chapter brings together items which have been published previously in a variety of outlets. The justification for this is that the geophysicist and geologist are interested in the processes occurring within the earth from the highest of pressures and temperatures to the low values encountered at or near to the surface of the earth. The aim of the chapter is to sample the growing volume of literature, and to present it in a complete but condensed form for the general reader who has not the time to seek the information in the more specialized publications.

Item Type:Book Section
Additional Information:© 1966 Interscience Publishers, a division of John Wiley & Sons.
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20160302-132635550
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:64966
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:16 Mar 2016 19:19
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 09:42

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