Abstract

The melting point of barium carbonate (BaCO3) was determined at pressures up to 11 GPa using the ionic conductivity and platinum (Pt) sphere methods in a multi-anvil press. The melting point decreases with pressure from 2149 ± 50 K at 3 GPa to a fitted local minimum of 1849 K at 5.5 GPa, and then it rises with pressure to 2453 ± 50 K at 11 GPa. The fitted melting curve of BaCO3 based on the ionic conductivity measurements is consistent with the Pt sphere measurements that were carried out independently at selected pressures. The negative slope of the BaCO3 melting curve between 3 and 5.5 GPa indicates that the liquid is denser than the solid within this pressure range. Synchrotron X-ray diffraction (XRD) measurements in a laser-heated diamond-anvil cell (LH-DAC) showed that BaCO3 transformed from the aragonite structure (Pmcn) to the post-aragonite structure (Pmmn) at 6.3 GPa and 1026 K as well as 8 GPa and 1100 K and the post-aragonite structure remained metastable upon quenching and only reverted back to the witherite structure upon pressure release. The local minimum near 5 GPa is attributed to the triple point where the melting curve of BaCO3 meets a phase transition to the denser post-aragonite structure (Pmmn). Local minima in the melting curves of alkaline earth carbonates would lead to incipient melting of carbonated rocks in Earth's mantle.

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