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Published October 2012 | Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

Rapid reequilibration of H_2O and oxygen fugacity in olivine-hosted melt inclusions


The solubility of H_2O in silicate melt drops substantially with decreasing pressure, so that a magma initially containing several weight percent H_2O in a crustal magma reservoir is left with only a few thousand parts per million following ascent and eruption at the Earth's surface. This rapid release of volatiles makes determining the pre-eruptive H_2O contents of magmas very difficult. Olivine-hosted melt inclusions are thought to retain their H_2O because they are protected from decompression by the strength of the host crystal, and pre-eruptive concentrations obtained from melt inclusions have been used to both estimate the amount of H_2O in the upper mantle and investigate its role in the melt generation process. The greatest uncertainty involved in constraining upper mantle conditions from melt inclusions is the potential for rapid diffusive loss or gain of H^+ (protons) through the host olivine. Here we present results from hydration and dehydration experiments that demonstrate that, contrary to the widely held view, H_2O loss or gain in melt inclusions is not limited by redox reactions and significant fluxes of H^+ through the host olivine are possible on very short time scales. We also show that the Fe^(3+)/ΣFe of an olivine-hosted melt inclusion maintains equilibrium with the external environment via diffusion of point defects through the host olivine. Our results demonstrate that, while pre-eruptive H_2O and Fe^(3+)/ΣFe can be reliably estimated, olivine-hosted melt inclusions do not necessarily retain a record of the H_2O and O_2 fugacity conditions at which they formed. High-H_2O melt inclusions are particularly susceptible to diffusive dehydration, and therefore are not reliable proxies for the state of the upper mantle.

Additional Information

© 2012 Geological Society of America. Manuscript received 2 November 2011. Revised manuscript received 13 April 2012. Manuscript accepted 18 April 2012. We are grateful to Adam Kent, Steve Mackwell, and an anonymous referee for providing insightful and constructive reviews. We also thank Kurt Roggensack and Paul Wallace for providing olivine-hosted melt inclusions from Cerro Negro and Mauna Loa, respectively, and Elizabeth Cotrell and Katie Kelley for providing advice, encouragement, and standard glasses for the μ-XANES (X-ray absorption near edge structure spectroscopy) analyses. Greg Hirth and Ralf Dohmen provided helpful insights into the behavior of point defects in olivine. We are grateful to Mark Ghiorso for providing advice and assistance in carrying out isochoric dehydration calculations using the MELTS software. This work was funded by U.S. National Science Foundation grant EAR-0948666.

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